Where do you get your inspiration?

Last night I did a talk for a photographic club in the Scottish borders. It was a great night and I got asked a really interesting question: "Do you get inspiration from other sources such as music?".

The answer of course is yes. I know that I get my inspiration from a lot of music. I'm not exactly sure how this happens, but after thinking about it on the way home, I've come to the conclusion that anything creative starts of as a form of dreaming in the mind. We imagine what we want to create and it is our imagination that is at the core of creativity. I feel that what happens when I listen to music that I find emotive is that it fires my imagination, and that in turn gives my mind 'exercise'.

What I mean by exercise is that I believe a lot of us were used to imagining things when we were young but as we got older, and the real world has encroached upon us, some of us don't exercise our imaginations so much. Paying bills, keeping schedules, driving cars, negotiations, whatever, the humdrum of life can stop us from escaping into an imaginary world. I believe that we need to escape into our imaginations - it's completely healthy, but for some of us, we do it a lot less as time goes on and fall out of practice.

Listening to music, escaping into a good book, daydreaming - they all exercise our imaginations and this in turn, helps us when we want to be creative. So yes, music inspires me in many ways and it creates emotions in my mind that I often 'feel' when I'm out there shooting.

So what inspires you? Or more specifically, what sort of music are you listening to at the moment? Do you find your mind escaping into a different world while you have your headphones on? Is it the same escape when you are making images?

I'd like to hear your view.

I'll start.

Q. What are you currently listening to?

Stina Nordenstam - slightly unsettling, but in a very good way. AIR - atmospheric Lambchop - emotive, melodical, songs that lodge in my brain and lyrics that take me somewhere else. Ali Farka Toure - hypnotical Steve Reich - music for 18 musicians in particular - very hypnotic and takes me into a different space.

Q. Do you find your mind escaping into a different world while you have your headphones on?

Absolutely. Music is the soundtrack to my life. I am rarely without music.

Q. Is it the same escape when you are making images?

Similar. I feel I listen to music that has atmosphere and that's what I try to do with my photography.

Q. Do you find it easy to escape into another world or is your life so busy that you seldom get that chance?

It's always been very important for me to daydream, escape into another world through music or photography. Life without this escape would be terribly dull. My life has had to be balanced between art/creative activities and scientific/organised activities. A friend of mine says I seem to have a good balance between both and find it easy to move between both realms. Not sure if that's true.

So what about you?