katharine is not a photographer

I’m a hyphenated creative. Under my name, I always put writer hyphen designer hyphen illustrator hyphen crafter. One creative pursuit you’ll never find under my name is photographer. I don’t have an eye for photographic composition. I don’t have a steady hand to capture life’s fleeting moments. Point-and-shoot still requires good aim and a sturdy button-clicking finger. My attempts at photography end in blurry, grainy messes. Maybe that’s art? Perhaps your art gallery would be interested in my series “Lack of Focus: Scenes from the Nearsighted Perspective”? It’s all snaps of blurry cats and drive-by shots of scenery and other things I’ve tried to capture in low light environments.

Blatant flash photography is verboten on the Internet. Web 2.0 is all about making the Internet look like a glossy magazine. Web 3.0 seems hellbent on turning the Internet into television. And I suppose the Internet of the Future or NTRNT (because I suspect by 2015 we’ll be done with vowel use and, of course, calling anything x.0 will be incredibly passe) will be three-dimensional eye-molestation. I’ve digressed. I’m sorry. We’re still in the glossy magazine phase. Which means our photos should strive to appear natural but attractive. Your craft project or plate of spinach pasta will always look better when snapped in natural sunlight.

It isn’t that flash photography is pooh-poohed. Just obviously using the flash in a normal household environment. Raw flash photography allows for an invasion of the camera. Red eyes, awkwardly placed flash reflections, and sharp shadows that loom behind brunettes, making hairdos seem twice as big. The telltale signs of “Hey, I’m taking a photograph!” For a good photo, you’ve got to have good lighting. Without good lighting, your photos will look like garbage. As mine almost always do because I live in a low light environment and I’m too lazy to fuss with complex lighting set-ups to make things like monster plushies look professional and pretty. Just like I’m too lazy to attempt fancy hairstyles and makeup tricks. Yes, things would look better and I’d probably get a lot more attention, but it’s just not in my wheelhouse.

There couldn’t be a worse time to be terrible at photography. Cameras are everywhere. And everyone can claim photography as a hobby. We’ve got cameras in our phones, our MP3 devices, our tablets/netbooks/laptops and desktop computers. There are tiny spy cameras hidden in pens and cigarette lighters. There’s probably a regular camera with a separate tiny camera built into it. We can take pictures of anything. And with many of these cameras being at such low resolution, you’d think we’d be okay with crap photography. Oh, it’s okay for Facebook and Twitter, but let’s have none of that on our blogs and Tumblrs.

I suppose I could snap my subjects with the flash and then apply some sort of filter. Instagram makes everything look all warm and vintage-y. If you can’t imitate a magazine, you can always imitate someone’s shoebox of old photos. Maybe that’s the future of the Internet—retro-tinted voyeurism via a child’s ViewMaster toy. I feel like I’ve just spoiled some great epic film commenting on nostalgia in a post-apocalyptic setting. But that’s me, writer hyphen future spoiler.


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