oh my gawd

By some horrific turn of events (I totally blame the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and a sudden fit of nostalgia), I’ve managed to recover a collection of poetry I wrote between 2001 and 2003.

It’s positively dripping with the angst of an oversexed, underpaid college freshman.  What can I say?  I’ve always had a penchant for the dramatic.  But, seriously.  “Ketchup love?”  And what’s with the pointed aversion to capital letters?

More importantly, how is it that the me of 2007 cannot comprehend what was going through the mind of the me of 2003?  Have I really changed that much?  Obviously I have, but I can’t pinpoint a time in the last four years when I said to myself, “Self, from now on, you will stop being such a drama queen, and you will start using proper punctuation!”

It’s funny how change sneaks up on you like that.  I can only imagine how much I will laugh if/when I dredge up this blog in, say, 2015.

In any case, for your amusement and my embarrassment, I present to you:  Why I am a photographer, and not a poet.

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one f-stop at a time

roots
touch
cornered
grow

On Saturday, I had photo shoot number one of six.  I was anticipating a disaster, considering that I'm a) totally out of practice and b) a lot of important personal issues were riding on the outcome of this shoot.  Namely:  Can I still do this?  More importantly, do I even want to?  Thankfully, the answer to both of those questions is a resounding "Yes!"

But what made me feel even better is, when all was said and done, I was satisfied with the results without feeling that anxious craving for positive feedback, for affirmation that I'd done a good job.  Simply knowing that I'd made something I liked was good enough, for once.  I was even able to put aside the photographs for a few days and enjoy the company of a very good friend whom I haven't seen in many months.  Then this evening, when I came back to the photos, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could look at them somewhat critically and not feel like I had to tear my talent down in the process. 

At one point in my college career I took a photography class in which we were required to build a series of photographs around a written statement.  I shot roll after roll of Kodak Elite Chrome (cross-processed, of course), and every week I'd bring my favorite photographs to class.  There weren't very many favorites.  At the end of the semester, my professor took me aside and said, "Look – I think you have a great vision, but you should be producing more work.  The only reason I'm giving you a B is because I didn't see nearly enough work from you."  What the professor didn't understand was, I'd taken a few hundred photographs over the semester, but in my mind, only 15-20 made the cut for a class critique.  Only six made it into my final portfolio.   I'd never given him or the rest of the class the opportunity to tell me what they thought about the other 190 photographs (minus dupes and brackets), because in my mind, they had already failed in some way or another. 

When I say I'm my own worst critic, I couldn't mean it in a more literal way, especially when it comes to the things I take a lot of personal pride in.  Some photographers have a problem narrowing down a selection of their best works… I have a problem finding two photos out of a hundred that appeal to me.   I suppose it's good to have a finicky eye in some cases, but it also shows how hard I can be on myself (to the point of ridiculousness at times) and that's a part of my personality I'm trying to tame.

I feel good about this shoot.  Not because it's perfect, but because I did it for me.  These may never win awards, or see the inside of a glossy magazine, but that doesn't matter.   They're for me, and I'm glad to be able to say that.

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QotD: Repeat After Me…

How have people mispronounced your name?  How is it supposed to sound?
Submitted by Lorie.

My name is spelled Caroline, but as a child, I was known as Carolyn.  I’m not sure why my parents chose one spelling and then used another pronunciation in practice… maybe because they knew it would confuse every single one of my grade school teachers, causing me immeasurable trauma when said teachers demanded to know what my name was – Caroline or Carolyn?  Apparently “both” wasn’t the appropriate answer.

I kid, I kid.  I do answer to both, but I think of myself as a ‘lyn, not a ‘line.  I’ve considered having it legally changed so that the spelling reflects the pronunciation, but it honestly doesn’t bother me that much (at least, not as much as it bothered my grade school teachers).

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it’s good to have goals

Dear Self,

If you can pull off one photo shoot per month for the next six months, you have my blessing to purchase a Pentax K10D.

If you can prove you’ll use it, you can have it.

Start shootin’.

Love,
Me

Mmmmmmmm.  I’m calling it Droolfest 2007.

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