Sunday, July 25, 2010

I should have paid attention in photography class.

Photo by John Moran

What was I doing in photography class?  What was I doing in most of my college classes?  Was I even there?  To quote the profound Sorority Boys, "I don't even remember that year..."

I think that throughout the majority of my college career, I was of the mindset that I could figure out a better way to get ahead in life, that I didn't need anyone to teach me or show me or tell me.  I could figure it out, and when I did, it would be a better way than anyone else had ever stumbled upon.  Obviously that didn't really work out for me, so now I'm putting together the shards of shattered education, trying to glean what little I can from what little I can remember.

Which brings me to my point: I should have paid attention in photography class.  I remember that one of our projects was to attend a public event and photograph it.  In true Desha-style, I waited until the last minute and went to some multicultural club meeting.  Not only was it a small group, I was the only white girl there, and I was taking pictures.  It was awkward, and so I took very few photos.  They weren't any good at all, and quite frankly I'm surprised my professor didn't suggest I drop the class after that.

I bet there was all sorts of great information in that class, because I still have the book: National Geographic Photography Field Guide, and it says:

We are inundated with photography every day- pictures of war and famine, victory and defeat, of famous and infamous people, of goods we are enticed to buy, gorgeous models, ideal homes, microscopic organisms and distant stars, of important moments from history and moments that are important only to us.  Photographs bring far away places into our living rooms and time past into the present.  We all have albums (or, for the less organized, drawersful) of pictures of loved ones and of ourselves when we were younger.  Photographs provide the pleasures of art and information about things we will never actually see.  And they are our personal memories made real.

That book is chock-full of almost 400 pages of photography goodness, and let me tell you- it looks brand-new.  I'm not trying to sell it to you.  I'm trying to point out that I never opened it.  Because, after all, how hard could photography really be? 

Very hard.

Unless you're naturally gifted, photography is an art form that only a select few can really master and fashion into a livelihood.  I am not a good photographer.  I have learned this recently, much to my dismay.  I have embarked on this journey to share my crafty creations with the world, and my portal is Etsy.  My original thought was: I'll just make a bunch of cute things, and put some pictures up, and tell my friends, and people will start to buy them!  Hopefully!

But obviously, starting a business is not that easy, otherwise we wouldn't have so many poor people and an economy in the dumps.  Starting a business is not a lazy man's job.  My parents were business owners for 20-plus years, so you would think I would know this instinctively.  But again, I always figured I could come up with some better way to make it.  An easier way.

So my first discovery is that it's all about the presentation.  Seriously.  When I look for a new bathing suit in the Victoria's Secret catalog, do you know what I do?  Do I look for the color that would most flatter my skin-tone? No.  Do I look for the shape that will make me look the skinniest?  No.  Subconsciously, I look for the cutest model.  I can't help it!  Whichever girl looks the best in whichever photo is the most alluring -that is the suit I choose.  It is almost never the right choice for my body-type.  But some idiotic little part of my brain says, Desha, buy this bathing suit.  You will magically transform into Adriana Lima if you do.  Buy it... buy it...

And then I have this devastating moment when I get it in the mail, after many long days of waiting for my magical swimsuit.  I try it on, and I look nothing like Adriana Lima or any of the other VS models, for that matter.  Just Desha.  In a bathing suit.  Just like last summer.  And the one before that.

But as I was perusing the pages of Etsy, I noticed that the successful sellers have great photos.  There are millions of wonderful photographs out there.  It could be a rock  for sale with a $50 price tag, but because it is photographed on top of an old vintage book, in a soft white lighting, I want it.  Or maybe some hand-model with perfectly painted short red fingernails is holding a bottle cap.  It is $100.  I want it.

That's an exaggeration, but you get the point.  So I've been experimenting with my digital camera and attempting to take better photos.  I've even replaced some of the current ones on my shop with updated versions.  I read a great blog about photography tips that I found helpful if you'd like to take a look.  The picture above is from one of my favorite photographers, John Moran.  I love him because he photographs Florida, land that I love!

Please take a moment to give me your feedback or advice on not only my photos, but photography in general.  Here are some of the newer pics for you to browse through.  Happy Sunday!


  1. <3 "Just Desha. In a bathing suit. Just like last summer". I know this feeling exactly lol. Looks like the photos are coming along beautifully! That little Moran gator photo is the one I hope to frame my most recent degree with as a self-congrats. We obviously share good taste :)

  2. Thanks for reading, Lis, my bestie! I figured I knew a few ladies that could relate to the VS analogy;) And yes, we do share good taste (either that or we share really BAD taste!


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