Of course as an artist I'm inspired by other artists, I love illustrative art, outsider art, classic art, modern art, crafts and a wide range of photographers and graphic design, but poetry, cinema, prose, music and perhaps most importantly emotion are also a great source of inspiration to me.  I live and work in pretty emotionally loaded environments and have had a vast range of emotive experiences throughout my life, I choose to take these things and turn them into art rather than absorbing them into negativity in my life... and I feel that in the process I bring not just those loaded emotions but hopefully a balance of light and shadow into the work with me. 
I have wonderful friends & family, both those who create art and those who support me in my journey, artistic and otherwise, they inspire me every day.
A handful of my favorite artists are:
Diane Arbus
Cindy Sherman
Sally Mann
Barbara Kruger
Vincent Van Gogh
Paul Klee
William De Kooning
Jesse Reno
I love the magazines Juxtapoz & Shots

Life Inspirations
I have an obsession with thrift stores, it amazes me what people cast off & leave behind, to me there are stories behind the artifacts, I'm learning not to bring every story home with me but I use a lot of used clothing in my photography, both vintage & just unique or classic pieces to wardrobe my models (and myself when I am the model) as I feel that the story then gets told.

The way light interacts with environment has always mesmerized me long before I had any knowledge of photography.  I used to have this set of vintage red velvet drapes and the way my window was in my bedroom every now and then (after all I live in Oregon) the light would cast this glow that would pour into the hallway, every time it did I would gasp in amazement and pause to appreciate that simple miracle.

Nature, although it doesn't play dominantly in my photography I am always looking around me marveling at the magic of our world.
The less than perfect.  Some of my favorite self portraits capture my scar just right, or the freckles I raged against in my youth, or a crooked smile and chipped nail polish.  I love to capture bruises in others, or a look that is out of character for them, that moment when the defenses are down and vulnerability rises to the surface.

I am inspired by the every day, what I see laying on the side of the road can impact me, I am very emotional and it's not hard to elicit an emotional response from me.  I work with people who are in poverty, most of them have a story to tell, something that brought them here, keeps them here or something that has inspired them to make changes to strive for more.  These stories weave themselves throughout my art because they shape my emotional life.

Life experience - enough said, right?  I'm sure you can pick up on the themes.

A huge part of my philosophy is that what we leave unspoken is what isolates us, I seek out things that speak to those subjects and attempt to give it a voice through my photography as well. 

Because someone else probably said it better than me, other peoples thoughts...

  • "If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it." – Mary Engelbreit
  • “If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.” - David Carradine
  • "Change Happens at the speed of life"  - Shelby Koning (I cheated, that one was me!)
  • “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” - Charles R. Swindoll
  • "Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."  - Anne Frank
  • "But better to be hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie."  - Khaled Hosseini
  • "Get busy living or get busy dying." — Stephen King
  • "It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness.
    We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace." — Chuck Palahniuk
  • "Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolutions." — Kahlil Gibran
  • "The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over." — Hunter S. Thompson
  • "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." — Nietzsche
  • "The only devils in this world are those running around in our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought." — Mahatma Gandhi
  • "Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment." — Mahatma Gandhi
  • "Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward." — Kurt Vonnegut
  • "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!" — Jack Kerouac