Sunday, April 19, 2009
photography and me
Mary Nanna keeps asking about how I learned to take photos, and I wasn't being cagey in not answering, but I have been thinking about how I would answer.
Well, OK, here it comes. I was a professional transfer student during my undergrad years. I have plotted my five various schools on a Google Map, which took me to both coasts and in the middle too. Along the way I studied Russian language and literature (but I never actually really wanted to go there) and also art. I did two years at the #3 spot on my map (Greenfield Community College), which had a lovely and small and really good art department, and got all my foundation courses out of the way. During this time, I took some photography classes and liked telling visual stories. But I really loved woodblock printmaking.
After this wonderful start, I went on to School of the Art Institute of Chicago to continue with my printmaking interests. Art school (at both schools) was great---so amazing to be surrounded by all that talent! But during the year I was there, I took a 3-D design class and a performance art class that sort of cemented what I already knew from the previous two years of art school: that words were always part of my best work. My work was always narrative and incorporated words.
(And then, the best surprise: In the spring, I became pregnant with Jonas and DIDN'T HAVE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL IN THE FALL. It was what I had always wanted all along.)
Much as I was happy to learn things (officially and about myself) along the way, I always knew that really, I needed to be a mom before I would know my direction. This was not really in the program for me (white, middle class, daughter of educated parents) though and I felt a little pushed to just go someplace and study anything. Which I did. But I always tell my story to parents because I think it's important that they encourage their children to consider other options like travel or internships or just plain old work, before college.
So back to Mary Anna's question: Where did I learn how to take pictures?
Part of it is all that art training. Part of it is that I am observant to the world around me. And inspired by beauty and good light. Part of it is that I read your blogs that have photos that inspire me and give me ideas for composition and lighting. And part of it is that I am taking many more photos now, with this blog, and through practice there are necesarily more pictures that are good ones. So this blog has, without me realizing it, become a place for me to express myself through the photographic medium as well.
My camera is a Sony Cybershot H-10, if you care. I like it a lot, especially the "action" setting (good for boys who are fast-moving) and the macro setting (good for close-ups).
(Um, if you're wondering about these photos: I took them in the reflection of the window through the winterizing plastic that was covering it.)