Be Inspired: 10 Documentaries About Creatives, Visionaries and Pioneers

Dave checking out some of the Gerhard Richter paintings at the Tate Modern earlier this year. 

I love documentaries, especially documentaries about people who are creatives, visionaries and pioneers. Not only do I get a glimpse into their creative process, I get to be inspired.

Let yourself be inspired, here are ten documentaries to get you started:

  1.  Gerhard Richter Painting I LOVE to see artists at work and gain insight into their creative process. This documentary left me feeling validated and inspired. Seeing an entire room of his paintings in London earlier this year was the cherry on top.
  2.  Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff The man did an artistic film called The Red Shoes in the '40s, and Rambo in the '80s! With contributions from Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall, this documentary was a great look into a man's creative legacy.
  3.  Herb & Dorothy A fascinating story about Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a postal clerk and a librarian, who were two of the most famous art collectors in New York.
  4.  EAMES: The Architect and the Painter A glimpse into the creativity and lives of husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames. LOVED it! Someday I will own an Eames chair...
  5.  America's Castles: The Homes of Frank Lloyd Wright This is a great introduction to Wright's work and vision. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything recent to link to for this one, but if you can find it on Netflix or at your local library, I highly recommend it.
  6.  Objectified Done by the same folks who brought us a documentary devoted to Helvetica, the font, Objectified is an enlightening look at industrial design and the detailed planning that goes into anything from the lowly potato peeler to the technology we use every day.
  7.  The September Issue A great glance into the life of Anna Wintour and Vogue magazine's prep for its biggest issue of the year – and in Grace Coddington's creative process for coming up with the photos made famous on the news stands.
  8.  Bill Cunningham New York People like Mr. Cunningham, who do what they love and love what they do, inspire me. Period.
  9.  Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman Another inspiring story about a long-time practitioner of his craft: architectural photographer Julius Shulman. Beautiful, beautiful images.
  10. In the Realms of the Unreal (see trailer below) A documentary about unknown-to-me self-taught artist Henry Darger. This man meticulously created an incredible imaginary world for himself, I don't think I've ever seen anyone so prolific. His story is eccentric and his art sometimes disturbing, well worth the watch.

How about you, do you have any favourite documentaries? 

I'm always up for a new one!