Friday, February 5, 2016

Writing Photographs #1 Myself

This is my daughter's self-portrait.  She's involved in a photography challenge, submitting a photo a week for 52 weeks.  When I saw the list of assignments, it sparked a little wistfulness in me.  One of my old dreams was to be a photographer, and I do still really enjoy taking and looking at pictures.  I find now, though, that my enjoyment comes as much from seeing the thing I took a picture of in the picture, as from appreciating the art of photography.  I've since lost interest in the task of taking really good, creative photos.  Just don't anyone take away my smartphone.

Other people do a much better job of capturing the Blood Moon, or the stark black and white eagle on a snowy branch, or the swirling green and magenta Northern Lights.  Maybe Facebook and Instagram are guilty of perpetuating a glut of photos, saturating the collective senses of the masses, and it's only really, really good or unusual ones that stand out anymore.  So, I tip my hat.  I'm not a photographer. And other people are.

I still have some creative hankering knocking around in my head, though.  That's one reason I started this blog in the first place.  I don't fancy that I'm a special snowflake of a writer, but I have found that, whether anyone else does or not, I really like to read what I've enjoyed writing.  

I have been an avid reader most of my life and when I was in college, I was inspired by certain writers.  Then one day I read a book that made me almost give up writing.  If someone could produce something this stirring, so raw and artfully written, why would I even bother to write anything at all?  It was that good, and it doesn't even matter what book it was by which author, because that experience was all about me, about how it distilled in my own mind.  I've since got over that idea.  I want to write.  I don't want to "be a writer," I just really like to use words. 

Maybe I don't pursue photography because almost anyone these days can take better pictures than I do.  But I know for sure, I'm not going to find anyone on Facebook or Instagram who can write about me and my head the way I can.  

Lately, I've not been doing that so much, but an idea came to me as I thought about this 52-photo challenge.  Maybe it will be interesting to write the assignments as my daughter snaps them.  Not describe the photos she's taking, but write something alongside.  For example, the first assignment was to do a self-portrait.  Writing a self-portrait could be interesting, right?  It could be evocative, not to mention indulgent.  I just thought at the time that turning this challenge into assignments for my blog would be a decent outlet for me, my mind and our friendship with words.

Thinking about all the qualities and characteristics that make a good self-portrait made my head fight with me a little bit.  Too much self-ness.  Too much vulnerability.  Too many avenues to travel.  And to think that someone, anyone, else would give even a cursory nod in the direction of my writing esoterically about myself is at least a little vain.   

So, here it is.  This explanation of an exercise in self-portrait writing, is my self portrait for this first assignment.  Well.  That's convenient.  The three categories in the challenge are "PORTRAIT," "ARTISTIC" and "LANDSCAPE," and have their own sub-assignments, as it were; traditional landscape or zoomed in landscape, or head shot portraits, or artistic red.  This is hash-tagged on social media as "dogwood52."  Dogwood is the photography studio who first issued the challenge.  I prefer this type of challenge to throwing a bucket of cold water on my head.

Leaving the work of taking real photographs to my photographer daughter who does a better job at it than many, here's a picture I took of some leaves in a puddle.  It's pretty because leaves in rain are pretty.  


Hanaike House said...

Sounds like a great project. And by the way, we miss you guys.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

May I suggest that you just take the photos and not think about it so much? If you maintain this mountain of high expectations, you will never leave the valley.

Penny said...

Good point, Jerry! I'm not about to stop taking pictures, but I have stopped writing, even in a journal, which is very uncharacteristic of me. Part of that has to do with the loss of my laptop which succumbed several months ago. I do most of my internetting on my phone or wee tablet. I'm borrowing my daughter's laptop for the time being, when she doesn't need it herself. Hmmm...maybe tax returns...

We miss the Hanaikes, as well!