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i n c l u d i n g p h o t o s / e s s a y s f r o m : lisa congdon/ elisabeth dunker/ elsita mora/ jennifer causey/ many, many more... [cover image:lauren ulm]


I’m a terrible homebody. Truly. My husband often jokes that if it weren’t for our consistently empty refrigerator, I’d never leave the house. He’s totally right. However, I’ve been recently challenged to become a bit more adventurous with the time given to me. After all, summer is fast approaching. Will I really waste yet another beautiful season on my living room couch? I hope not. Naturally [no pun intended], I was quite inspired to begin working away on Inspiration’s fifth issue: Inspiration in Nature. I have so much respect for those who see beauty on this earth, because it is truly a miraculous sight. There is not one leaf the same, no two trees alike. How magnificent a creation! So again, with great thanks to this month’s contributors, I present Inspiration, an e-zine. May the following pages inspire you to reflect upon our world and its beauty.

Love to you.

Erin Loechner, Editor Design for Mankind

photo credit: meredith farmer



i was really drawn to the little details in the branches, how each one was unique and special. i really like how the crochet in the left image, although handmade, mimics the feeling of nature.

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I am intensely inspired by the orderly composition of plant life--fractals, lines, roundness, etc. and I love to draw/paint plant life with pencil and gouache. This series of 9 gouache paintings were done on pages from a vintage land deed that I purchased a couple of years ago. The vintage paper (from the 19th century) proved to be the perfect surface for smooth gouache and my attempt to depict the magic of small bits of nature outside our doors.



On our family outings, whether it's a hike in the woods or a walk to the park, we always seem to come back with little bits of nature tucked into our pockets. Sometime we remember to take them out of our jackets and pants but other times I find these treasures just before I throw the clothes into the wash. I started to notice how everything looked piled up next to the washer and really wanted to start documenting some of our finds in a more organized fashion. This photo was taken in October and illustrates all the wonderful colors and textures bountiful during that time. I love being able to look back and notice how I arranged everything, the space in between and how lovely it all looks together.



I had been on a trip to the mountains with my sister and her husband. On the way home, we saw a road sign informing us that there was a big dried out waterfall called the Dead Falls just close by. Since we wanted to stretch our legs we went to check it out. The nature around there was simply magnificent, there were lots of trees and we looked down on the dry flood bed from a great height actually making me quite dizzy. When I turned around to walk up to the car again, I saw these stones laying on the worn wooden rail. I just loved the composition and the serenity of this view. I also liked thinking about how they had gotten here, if it was one person or several persons that had created the still-life. Another thing I wondered about was whether they put the stones up there to take a photo of them or was it just because they made the railing look more lovely? What I mostly like about this photo is the textures and colors of the stones and how they seem almost soft to the touch. It also reminds me why I love to travel and the sheer joy of discovering beautiful things in the most unexpected places if one just remembers to look.

W W W . F L I C K R . C O M / M O A M A R I A



i live along the maine coast, and much of the inspiration for my artwork comes from forms i see in nature, especially near the ocean. i love round striped pebbles, shells, moss and lichen, tall grass, wildflowers, pinecones and the feel of the warm sun on my pages as i doodle these things over and over. i took this picture to remember a perfect maine day spent with my sketchbook.



In my personal case, there isn't a better rest time than when I create something with no other purpose than pure and personal enjoyment. That's when my son’s fascination with plants gave me an idea. I went outside and picked up a group of the elements from our backyard that Diego likes the most and I decided to play with them in my studio. All of the pictures below are the result of this wonderful resting-creative time. After I finished I had a big smile on my face and the confirmation of the idea that sometimes we really need to stop and become like a child, rediscover the world around us and play.



This polaroid was part of a series I created about humanizing landscapes by juxtaposing old appliances in nature. By modern standards, where technology is sleek, small and thin as paper, somehow placing these enormous outdated machines once used to communicate transform environments like a field into a closed, surreal and intimate inhabited space. I chose polaroid because it gives a miniature respect of reality that anyone can make or acquire, and just like outdates machines, it's easy to dispense. Like the collector who takes things that are thrown away, lost or unloved by others, it's my little quest to catalog nostalgia in photographs.



Nature is bursting with colors, patterns, and textures. Her palette is vivid and dynamic. Nature knows no boundaries; she is innovative and everchanging. She is dramatic and moody yet calm and welcoming. Nature embodies inspiration and is a canvas of all things beautiful.



I am inspired by nature in two ways. It is amazing and challenging to me to see how much beauty can be created from the most basic elements: air, water, stone. The elegance that can be found in a simple pebble or piece of driftwood, or the extravagance of a flower or sunset challenges me to keep my own work simple, basic and beautiful. It also inspires me to be so careful with my time on this earth, to not take too much away from it, to not mess it up. Environmental concerns are huge for me. The challenge is to balance that with my love of design, the thrill I get from rescuing a house or a piece of furniture. How can I do that in the most environmentally-friendly manner possible? Keeping stones and twigs on my windowsill helps me to stay aware of the challenge and the inspiration!



This photo was taken early in the morning in April. Me, Camilla Engman and Morran were out walking in a wood called "Slottsskogen" in Gotenburg/Sweden.

I was supposed to take pictures of Camilla for a magazine. Camilla, who has walking routes in Slottskogen almost every day with Morran, showed me her favorite spots. “This place is almost too beautiful to photograph,� Camilla told me. I agreed. The light, the place, and the moment were magical.


[graphic designer]

The title 'Just a tree' is used for this image because it's a lone tree standing in the middle of nowhere...surrounded by a few carefully composed elements, like a sky with clouds, land with crops, a countryside road and the horizon. I noticed this scenic view from the rearview mirror while driving home on a midsummer day. Inspired by another photograph I shot of a lone tree - sans leaves - on a cold midwinters day, I thought that it would be nice to have them captured just to compare the contrasts of seasons. Like my entire collection of various landscapes and nature's abstracts, all of them seem to have one or two thing in common: a fair composition of basic elements or contrast of form, shape and color. Simplicity is what I believe in most and I like to think of the bare bones when life seems a tad busy and complicated. Photography is my outlet to show beautiful simplicity and purity of nature. Nature - like my own sea and landscapes - has a huge influence in my work as a freelance graphic & multimedia designer as well. I often tend to use or make my own ingredients for personal artworks and client projects based on nature.



I often find that I'm not so much inspired as I am caught up in the moment. I may actually be trying to accomplish something else. In this instance I was sitting on the ground trying to get a good shot of our three month old beagle when I was attracted by the color of all the autumn leaves and the retro coolness of my husband's Chucks. I don't think I ever did get the picture of our beagle that day!




early one morning. cold and frosty. the sun warmed my fingers.



FLICKR.COM/MEREDITHFARMER I took this photo at a state park that I started going to that year - Viento State Park. As you can see from

my tags, I have taken many photos there throughout the past few years - pretty much since I started venturing out of the house to shoot in nature. This is probably my favorite place to go and hang out on a hot summer day for a few reasons: There is a park portion of the area and a camping portion. The park portion is rarely used, so I love to go there with a blanket, lie on the grass, and look up through the trees. The location is ideal for daydreaming on summer afternoons. I like solitude, especially when taking photos, so I love this park because of the smaller crowd that it tends to attract. The railroad tracks are classic vanishing points, which are one of my favorite compositions. At the time that I took this photo, I had seen many "walking the line" shots that I had interest in emulating, so the location coupled with the lack of people was ideal. I took this photo for the precise reason that I wanted to create my own unique version of the walking perspective shot, and this was the perfect location for said image. The photo turned out better than I could have possibly imagined, and it's popularity definitely bolstered my confidence when trying a different approach to self portraiture.


[graphic designer]

Whether you're young or more experienced, you're creative. PAUL.UKHOSTINGOFFER.COM The image above shows how nature influences the construction of different types of media by using sound, sight and senses. Being 16 and alert of the different ways of becoming inspired, graphic design becomes easy, each person has their own style and bringing out the style at a young age entitles me to be aware of what my style is. Anybody can design. Everybody has their own style. It's not just graphic design; it's anything from an architectural design to a piece of literature.



I love natural textures and colors! I feel the foundation of DESIGN is built from nature – organic, real, colorful, alive. It always amazes me to see how these colors and textures are transformed into art. Seeing how a flowering bloom can be soulfully recreated into a fabric. Or the bark of a tree interpreted as a beautiful dining table. This picture inspires and encourages me to involve color in my everyday life, especially in my home. On this particular day, my boyfriend and I spontaneously drove up the coast to Santa Barbara. This picture was taken on the scenic drive to Los Olivos, a tiny town in wine country about 30 miles north. We drove by this amazing wild flower field on our right while the Pacific Ocean was on our left. This picture feels like a painting to me and it looked this way through my lens too. I felt super relaxed when I snapped this pic. Just spending a carefree day with my guy and enjoying the moment, I could have stretched out right there and taken a sweet nap. LOVINGLIVINGSMALL.BLOGSPOT.COM

[visual effects artist]


I have a love/hate relationship with nature. By day, I'm a visual effects supervisor for feature films. That means I use computers to re-create nature's complexity and attempt to "trick" the audience into believing what their seeing. So, when I'm at the beach watching how waves roll in, watching clouds drift across the sky at sunrise, or just watching grass grow, I'm overwhelmed and inspired by the complexity of the design. Photography is a relaxing way for me to capture this inspiration.



i try to catch the beautiful details of nature. most people haven't the time or the eye to see this. that's my way to say - look around you, there is so much beauty just around us.



I am drawn to quiet things. To images of stillness, waiting, stasis. Saturdays often find me wandering with my camera down back alleys or into closed schoolyards and abandoned places. This picture of a swing reflected in the puddle below was taken on a rainy Remembrance Day holiday up in Vancouver Canada.


Inspiration eZine: Issue Five  
Inspiration eZine: Issue Five  

Inspiration in Nature from various artists, designers and photographers.