Saturday, November 3, 2012

Post with All Bad Photos

I've got a friend who's opening her Etsy shop and I've been helping her a little with some photoshop things and general and mostly unsolicited photo advice.  I'll wait to tell you about her and her shop, because it warrants a featuring and you guys are going to love it, trust me.  

I told her that for every email I send her that contains my advice or ideas, I would send her the worst photo I could immediately find of my own early jewelry photos to prove her photos are already light years ahead of where mine were when I was first starting to take them.  The ones I've sent her are waaay worse than these--these are actually 'evolved' from my first listings and attempts.

 This is nice, isn't it.
 What lovely contrast!
And this is the all-time best.  The others are forgivable, as I was obviously desperately trying to understand how to just "work the controls."  This one though?  First of all what the hell is it.  For one, That "pendant" is actually one of my polymer clay skulls that I made years and years ago.  It's turned around backward for the photo!  The cord is so odd, but I did spend literally months braiding, incorporating beads into braids, experimenting with knots, and just doing anything I could think of to get my body and hands into an 'autopilot' space with beads, wire, and cord.    

The set up: I rigged a bulletin board on my dining room table and covered it with (what I thought was) pretty paper conducive to backgrounding, and asked my husband, an (otherwise) excellent, award-winning photographer, to style and take photos of the pieces of jewelry, so I can see how it would look/what I could expect.
I was horrified at the results.  It was going to be all Fitzcarraldo with the jewelry pictures, I knew it the minute I began madly clicking in horror through these files.  They were as dire to me then and they are now, and I had no way to immediately translate my vision into reality.  I don't feel I really fight the idea of Process, actually, I'm quite interested in it always, so it wasn't really a matter of resenting the time or journey-it just seemed so impractical and amateur, as I would have to be using what were essentially practice photos to represent a professional ideal, which of course seems doubly important with the product is art/craft.  

There's one of these bulletin board photos that I can't even bring myself to post--for months it was the icon of the first photo file, so I'd see it every day.  As I continued taking photos and learning photoshop, the picture began to become more and more grim.  I left it there for a while, as incentive to move on, but it got to the point that when I opened my photo files and saw that bad little photo icon, I would get a physical zing that started at my arms and spread out through my whole body in a wave, and ended with this rolling feeling in my head behind my ears.  I had to move the file folder so it didn't pop up anymore. 

 I purposefully (and quite obviously, hee hee) did not make use of any books, tutorials, or anything, not even jewelry findings--my whole thing was to make every single component from beads, wire, and cord, in an effort to have an authentic 'relationship' with the materials and develop some techniques and styles from within.  I learned so much.  I can't imagine having started any other way.
I had hundreds of things--cords, necklaces, some really, really elaborate--there are a couple now I wish I still had or could find.  Most got pulled apart for the beads (as was always the plan) or recycled in parts. 

 When I did finally go in for findings like jewelry pins, commercial earwires, and the like, it was such a necessary relief that I took full advantage of it and focused more on things like color, texture, juxtapositions of things.  
 I went to town with that, and I feel like my stuff (and I) for a long while lost a primitiveness that it took a while to reincorporate.  There are so many irrelevant and forgettable things way back (if three years and some months can really be considered "way back") but some of the very first things I made I am still loving.

Why don't I do more simple braiding with beads?  I love these.
I should use more unoxidized raw wire too.  I love the gleam of the brass.

It's been an unexpectedly nice little exercise going through some of these old folders.  Usually the only old stuff I ever have occasion to see are in my Etsy listings, so it's easy to just keep those in my head as "where I was, what I did."  But as usual, the full truth is not present in casual memory alone.  In looking through the folders, I also came across some really bad non jewelry photos I thought I'd share--these were taken in a November.  With the weird storm stuff, my terrible sleeping issues which are really coming to a head now, a Halloween-that-wasn't, and just a lot of things going on, I was very startled to realize earlier today it was November.

What a strange photo.  Camera is likely still set in macro with no flash for the jewelry.  It's my friends that moved from Utah "with" us.  Not literally, but actually, it kind of was.  They've got a farm.  Looks like they've just arrived for Thanksgiving at my house here and the babe is cranky and waking up or something, and I'm probably trying to tease him out of it.

Here my husband is carving a turkey.  I took a photo because we're vegetarians and it seemed so unlikely.  But we've had turkeys here every year since for the meat eaters.  I'm not miltant at all--it's just been a habit for 26 years or so.  This bad photo is redeemed by his hair that looks pretty cool here.

Still can't believe next month is--December!  Today is the first truly, truly cold day and I heard Christmas music when I popped into Michael's tonight to grab some Amaco Mexican pottery clay after we took our rats to the vet for shots (boy they did not enjoy that.)  Christmas music.  And with that, I realized we were actually into November, and I'm finally accepting it, I think.  I am a profoundly Springtime person.  The only thing I like about Fall is the clothes.  I'm starting to relax into the idea of allowance and yielding to the cold weather and seasons that for my entire adult life have mainly meant chaos, inconvenience, and struggle.  It's all gone, all of it, literally every last bit of everything that made it a struggle, so it is foolish to hang on to the trauma (that's an exaggeration and overly dramatic, but it's what it feels like) of those miserable, window-scraping-child-carrying-car-sliding-sideways-down-the-hill-furnace-broken days.  Bleh, snow.

Bad webcam photo apparently learning how to work those photoshop controls.  I must have been thinking about snow.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I keep my bad photos just so I can appreciate how far I've come in this area. But there is still much room for improvement.

    As I realized it was actually November I was nearly paralyzed with fear for all the things I need to get done. With that came the realization that there will be things that I simply will not get done and I will be taking the heat for. It gives me an upset stomach every time I think about it. It happens every year. Why can't I just say no!

    I'm gad you are shucking the trauma of years passed. November is really a lovely month.