Dipping my Toes in Photography

As I posted on Facebook last week: “Oh my goodness. I think I, McKella, hater of all things technology, am developing a love affair with photography. Oh look, a flying pig…”

If you’ve read some of my recent Saturday Links posts, you might have suspected.

I think that says it all. I thought I’d never been interested in photography before, mostly because the idea of creating art with a machine instead of brushes and paint seemed a little distant and scary to me. I know exactly nothing about how to work a camera and I haven’t the slightest idea of how to make art with one.

Painting and drawing I understand: if I want to change something, I just touch it with my finger, a brush, or whatever instrument I’m using and it’s done. With photography, I have to push buttons and adjust things. It’s not intuitive to me at all, and honestly no technology is. Just ask anyone who’s tried to play a video game with me.

Something’s clicked in my brain though. I always thought of photography as a way to document. You take pictures to preserve memories, end of story. I know, I’m a few centuries behind because that’s how painting and drawing started out, but look how far they’ve come.

I think two things contributed to this new-found interest:

1) I now see photography as a way of connecting the inner and outer world. My surrealist paintings and drawings have always been about my inner world. I had very little interest in a lot of things around me because I felt safe in my little bubble.

With all the emotional and creative work I’ve been doing lately, I’ve realized that the key to being a successful artist and writer is to connect and balance the inner and outer worlds, to bring our inner workings into the physical realm. Otherwise, we creators tend to stay inside our own heads where no one can find us. Photography is inherently the intersection of both worlds: it has to involve the outer world because that’s how the medium works. However, taking an artistic photograph is about projecting the inner world onto a physical image, filtering it through the artist’s perception.

2) I’ve been inspired. By four photographers mostly, and all for different reasons. They all have very different styles, but something about each one really appeals to me.

My Mom, and the loving curiosity of her pictures. I wish she had a page I could link to, but she doesn’t. I’ll feature some of her photos sometime.

My friend Mandee and her quirky, bohemian vibe. Also, check out her collaborative blog Three Thousand Words.

Color me Katie and her colorful, whimsical style.

And finally, Nirrimi and her raw, brutally honest edge.

I’m terrified to hit the Publish button on this one, but I thought I’d show you a few of my experimental photos. Keep in mind that I have no idea what I’m doing and that some of these were shot with a AA 5 megapixel POS from Walmart. Some of these are really recent and some are pics I took a few years ago and tweaked a little. If you have tips I’d love to hear them, but mostly I’m just trying to be brave. I honestly have no idea if they’re any good or not, but I had fun creating them.

I’d appreciate tips (comments or email) but I’m not looking for brutal criticism at the moment. I’m not sure where this new medium will take me, but I’m having a ball with it.

I know I’ve got some seasoned photographers out there. Tell me: what originally drew you to photography?


Posted on May 9, 2011, in Art, Creativity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I don’t know a lot about photography, but I do know that your shots are great. I love the 2nd picture for some reason.

    • Thanks Lisa! I think that one’s my favorite too, and it’s the most recent. I was walking to the store, looked down at my hand clutching my purse and I thought “Essence of McKella, right there.”

  2. isn’t it neat to be creative? your shots are really awesome! I don’t know much about photographic art but yours really seem professional

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