Archive for December 2008
It’s been a really interesting year, this 2008. It started off sucking pretty hard, but it’s turned into a lovely lovely friend and I’m almost sad to see it go! I’ve learned a lot about myself and about life in general, met a bunch of new people, let go of some old ones, and generally progressed forward with my life in a way that I find very agreeable.
I’m not going to go into all the details of what’s changed in my life, but the important parts are:
- Got more into photography, specifically film photography, but I think I’m returning to digital for a little bit at least
- My body has finally reached a happy stage where I’m happy with the way I look and feel and I don’t have to put too much effort into losing anymore, just maintaining
- I’m finally getting used to living in California, the so-called west-coast lifestyle
- We’ve met lots of new friends and reconnected with some old ones as well
- Knitting is awesome and I’ve found a new knitting group that looks really promising
Jeez, I’m really not sure what’s ahead next year, but I know it starts off with a friend’s wedding (congrats C+E!!) up in beautiful Seattle. I’ll be heading up with a friend instead of with Frank since the wedding is during the week and Frank can’t take time off then. It’s sure to be a fun time since my friend has also never been to Seattle, so I can almost feel like I’m showing him around since I’ve been there a grand total of once. Ha!
Hmm… what else? Oh right… about going back to digital photography for a little while… I think I need a stint where I can stop caring so much about it, because it’s been eating me up and I’ve been overly critical of my work. I don’t really know why, but I care more about my photography when I shoot film; it’s just inherent for me and I don’t really know why. When it comes to digital, I feel like the finished product is less important and that the process becomes more fun and free. Maybe I just need to go back to shooting on rangefinders instead; I’d headed back to my trusty SLR lately to have more control over the composition of my shots. Yeah… I’ve been incredibly unhappy with my photography lately, so I’m really hoping that a small trip over the dark side of digital will help revive my passion for it. I’ll probably start missing film as soon as I tell myself I need to shoot digital again.
Oh, and also on the knitting front! I managed to make gifts for a lot of people this year, and it’s been really relaxing and wonderful to create things with my hands again. I really enjoy the process of knitting or sewing something, and it’s nice giving people something that I spent time making. It’s like a litlte extra bonus love for them. Darren gave me a subscription to Make magazine, and I’m thinking of asking him to switch it to Craft since it has more sewing/knitting type stuff in it instead of cool geeky electronics stuff.
So… I probably won’t update again until next year when we part ways with 2008 and meet 2009 for the first time, so I’ll say “おめでとうございます!!” to you now and see you in the new year!!
For me, photography is an escape from the everyday. I get to pick up a camera and go around seeing things the way I choose through a light-proof box. It’s like my rabbit-proof fence. It keeps me in and the pests out. The camera separates me from the world, but also connects me to it. It lets me keep a piece of the world all to myself, but it also gives me something to share with the people around me.
I have a really low upload rate for the photos I take. I may take 100 photos, but only upload about a quarter of them. There are lots of reasons why I wouldn’t upload them all. I find a lot of my work pretty insipid and boring, and I think that the rest of the world probably isn’t interested in the hundreds of photos I’ve taken of fire hydrants or my feet standing on the sidewalk. Maybe being unhappy with my photos is just part of being a shooter. That unhappiness keeps me striving for more, yearning to learn how to express myself just the way I want. There are so many times when I see a potential photo, feel something as I stand there and shoot it, but somehow don’t feel like I expressed it correctly when I look at the finished photo. It’s missing something that’s not quite telling the viewer everything I want. Maybe I’m just too critical of my own stuff, but it’s just how it is right? It’s always the self-criticism that is the worst.
I’m on a path, leading from here to there, but I don’t have a map and I’m not really sure where “there” is and if I’ll ever get there. Maybe “there” doesn’t even exist for me. It’s more like an ideal zen state that I’ll probably never reach. Maybe I’ll finally be happy with my photography if I ever do reach it, but I’m just as happy not reaching it.
I think I’m content going out, taking photos, talking to friends about it, and living life as a generally upbeat, happy person. It’s an escape from the mundane, a record of where I’ve gone, what I’ve done, who I’ve done it with. I think that in a few years when I look back at my photos, I’ll remember most the process, going out with friends, meeting new people. It’s not so much the shots I’ve taken, but the way there. Ha… That’s a rather vapid observation eh?
Having a steady shooting partner is very interesting. I’m not sure that I’ve ever had this much opportunity to observe another photographer for an extended period of time. What’s most interesting is watching his photographic style evolve and change, while all the same working in a cyclical way as well.
I’ve watched him cycle from being a very controlling photographer to being more spontaneous and back again to wanting control over the scene. Camera choice has also evolved in the time we’ve been shooting together from SLR to medium format SLR to rangefinders and now tending towards SLR again. We had a long talk last night about the observations I’ve had on his photography, lots of things he’s never even noticed until I pointed them out. I have the advantage of being a third-party, an observer seeing him from a different angle.
Last night, he bestowed upon me one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received: he said that I’ve been integral in helping him move ahead when it comes to his photography. Maybe it’s that since we’ve met he’s also had a consistent shooting partner who’s always up for going out, or maybe it’s that we challenge each other with new methods or techniques, or maybe it’s that we talk about photography a lot. And by a lot, I really mean we talk a LOT about photography. (A guy at the café last night mentioned to me that we must really, really like photography based on how much we were talking about it.) We talk about famous photographers, talk about why they are famous, what we like, what we don’t like. We discuss people we’ve seen on Flickr. We send photos back and forth to each other that we liked by other photographers. We talk about shooting styles. We talk about anything and everything that relates to photography, in addition to just about anything else in our lives. He is my kindred spirit; it’s not that we often have the same ideas, but that we’re willing to discuss our differences and try to understand each other and learn.
He’s probably changed my photography and my shooting style just as much as I’ve changed his, but I just haven’t taken the time to notice and put it down in words. All I know is that since we’ve met, I’ve been more excited about photography. I’ve wanted to go out shooting every week. I’m also more selective about what I shoot, and I think more about it. I’ve always been very deliberate about my shooting and framing, but I’ve also experimented with more spontaneous shooting in an effort to try something new. I used to have photographic ruts where I felt like I was doing the same boring thing over and over, but lately, I haven’t felt that so much. I’m learning more about what I enjoy about shooting and figuring out what I want and need out of it, and I think most of that is thanks to him.
(Photos taken from the twoshooters page. His are first, mine second.)
I don’t have much of an income this year, so I don’t really have much money to buy presents for people this year. We are in a recession after all, right? Well, no better time than to cue the DIY spirit of the season!
This year, everyone is going to get something handmade by me. The the most expensive gifts will be wine in reversible fabric wine bags; they’ll only be expensive because we would have to go buy some bottles of wine. The most time-consuming gifts will be knitted scarves and other small items like mug cozies, hand warmers, camera cases, etc. Maybe those are actually the best gifts anyway, since they’re more handmade than the wine bags (which are sill kind of a pain to make). I guess the rest of the people will get cookies or something tasty that won’t stick around and end up never getting used or worn. I always figure that food is a good gift for people who have a lot of stuff or those I don’t know very well. People can always take some chocolate chip cookies. I try to make them more gourmet and nice by using top quality chocolate chunks instead of the regular choco chips.
On the topic of being green and trying to recycle stuff, I’ve also decided to make some of my handmade gifts out of old clothes I used to wear. I think t-shirts may end up as quirky stuffies or as a lining for a small camera pouch. I do have a couple pairs of jeans that could use a little recycling, but I’m not sure that my (borrowed) sewing machine can handle the thickness of the cloth. I’ve been looking at a lot of recycled fabric projects these days since Darren’s lent me his mom’s sewing machine. Seriously, it’s the best thing ever, and I’m really quite excited to see what I can make out of old clothing. I even thought about doing some kind of patchwork something out of some old screen-printed t-shirts, you know, the $5 ones from Old Navy that go on sale every year.
Well anyway, here’s to the DIY spirit!