The rotten fruits of my artistic labor

July 22, 2011

Back in high school I was a film photography enthusiast. I loved the weight of a camera in my hand, the deliberate click of the shutter, the way taking photos made any walk a potential art project. I sat in my closet in the dark to practice spooling film and pored over contact sheets. I loved taking and developing pictures and the way being a photographer made me feel, which was artistic and cool. But then the age of digital photography came about, and pictures became something you just snapped in a hurry at a bar at college to prove to other people how much fun you were having with your cute friends.

Then I married my husband, who was as interested in digital photography the way I was in film photography. I bought him a nice SLR camera for Christmas a few years ago and eventually grew even more passive about photos. I stopped bothering to take a camera on vacation or to weddings because what was the point? My point-and-shoot pictures always looked bad and I didn't know how to use a nice camera. Last year though, Steve upgraded his camera and the camera I gave him went unused. I complained for some time about how it was such a shame that I now had this nice camera to myself but didn't know how to use it.

This year, in an act of thoughtfulness and also probably to shut me up, Steve got me a certificate for classes at the Chicago Photography Center so over seven weeks this summer I learned how to use my camera, how to compose digital photos, how to manipulate them in Lightroom and how to print them out. I definitely feel more comfortable with my camera and more importantly, got back in touch with that feeling that a camera can make a boring old walk interesting.

But for every good picture I took for class I probably took at least 30 awful ones and as as special treat for you, I am sharing some of them here: