Cocooned photography

You don’t need me to tell you that I’m a lousy photographer (conversely, I don’t need you to tell me the same). I came to a full understanding of this when I developed a roll of film I had taken when  I was about 12 years old. At first I thought the developer people had made a mistake, because there was a shiny orangeish blob obscuring most of every picture. Then I realized that my finger had been in the way every single time. Talented: no. Consistent: yeah baby.

Last semester I was directed to the website of the the Pioneer Woman. I fell in love with it. Then I found the blog of Tim of the unspellable last name, roommate of my childhood best friend/archnemesis, Andrew. And my friend/mentor/generally awesome person Michele has been taking and posting enviable photos for years. The Pioneer Woman does crazy things with food. Tim (may I call you Tim? I don’t know the dude at all; I am, of course, his Facebook friend, because the collection of Facebook scalps is kind of an unofficial hobby of mine) does crazy things with lens flares. Michele manages to pack emotion into a photograph in a way that still leaves me kind of speechless. As I soaked in their photographic genius, I thought, “I wanna do this.”

Poor, sweet Lauren had no idea what she was in for. I thought photography was a matter of pointing and shooting in good light. Fool. .02123 seconds of research told me that technically, I have everything going against me:

Of all the point-and-shoot cameras out there, mine is the point-and-shootiest. I mentioned “aperture” around it one day and it died for a week and a half.  I dream of the day I can upgrade to oil paints.

My eager little hands got the memo about shaking it like a Polaroid picture, but their timing is all off, so they end up shaking said picture while it is still being shot, leaving my photos looking influenced by impressionistic art. Only not classy and cool and artsy. . .or intentional.

And finally, my artsy eye isn’t. I’m thrilled to death when I hit the tacky side of classless in designing photos, outfits, etc.

But if there’s one thing at which I excel, it’s learning. So off I went to collect said knowledge. My arsenal right now?

1. Basic Photography by Michael Langford:

Unfortunately, the library only has the 1990 edition, so digital cameras are not even a gleam in Mr. Langford’s eye. . .but hey, it’s a start. I hope.

2. Blogs for learning, inspiration, and hope:

http://michelephoenix.com/

http://timtabstudios.com/

http://thepioneerwoman.com/

http://101cookbooks.com/

And many more. I promise that all the blogs I read aren’t about food. Or weddings.

3. Gimp 2:

http://www.gimp.org/

This photo-editing software is free, which fits in very well with my life philosophy of “don’t spend money except on chocolate”. It also has a cute little dog-like creature as an icon, which I think is quite the plus.

See?

If you’re technologically inclined, you’ll love it. If the very word “software” makes you quake (as it does me), you may need to put in some work to learn how to use it. But with some patience and effort, I’m confident (or just blindly and foolishly hopeful) that I can learn.

4. The desire to create meaning. I’ll write more about this later. Right now I’ll leave it as it is so I look mysterious and full of depth.

All this to say, my dear reader (hey Momma!), forgive me my faltering attempts at something a little like art. I’m in the learning stage. . .the cocoon if you’re into eye-roll-inducing metaphors, and I am. The learning curve is steep, but if you bear with me I may one day surprise both of us by actually producing something that is worthy of the name “photography.” We’ll see.

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