Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I think one of the reasons I take so many pictures is that I don't trust myself to remember. Ever since I was a child, I've been a picture taker. Gosh I was terrible as a kid at taking pictures. I have old albums (come to think of it, the "old" is probably redundant now) with pictures of the grass, the tire, the sky. One day, I think it was my father who told me but I'm not really sure, I learned that pictures without people in them aren't interesting. I remember how ashamed I felt, I mean here all these years I was focusing on things instead of people. This explains why I have hundreds of subsequent pictures of the round-the-country-trek I did with my best friend after graduating from high school with every shot either of me or him pointing at the object of interest. Somehow, having people in them didn't really make the pictures more interesting either. Looking at them today, it's hard to access the memories on my head's hard drive, but the pictures draw them forth or recreate them, which if you think about it, really makes no difference. All my life too I've been drawn to the idea of taking a photography class. Every time the community college semester started or there was a community center class happening, I'd check out the description and always be turned off by the fact that my current equipment wasn't adequate. What was wrong with my little instamatic? They always wanted you to have a 35mm or nowadays a big fancy I don't even know what they're called, but they kind of resemble the old style 35mm cameras. So elitist. I'm an amateur, why do I need to futz with lenses, just teach me how to have an eye for things. Turns out, you can learn a lot of that by trial and error, and even (gasp how novel) by reading books. Still, I think trial and error work best. My favorite tips about picture taking are one, try to have a foreground and background focus, two, things oriented so that your focus is drawn into an L shape are often pleasing, and three, avoid centering the object you're photographing. I really suck at the lighting part of photography and that's something I'm putting on this year's goal list to improve. (Eek, this reminds me that I'm late getting that done.) Still, the main reason I take lots of pictures is to remember, because especially as I get older, that is one skill that is slipping away.