blog posts without any pictures

Right now, I’m camera-less. It’s torturous, nearly. Beautiful summer sunset, new items to sell on eBay, the heightening lettuce in my first garden – I can’t snap shots of any of them. What’s a (at-least-I-pretend-to-be-a) photographer to do? Remind me never to lose my camera again.

But really, it is a time of confession. When I first started blogging, I had my own camera. For a few months. I was always on the lookout for blog-worthy photos to complement my posts. Then I lost it (Take this sentence in every meaning possible.). Ever since, it’s been downhill. Yes, I borrowed my housemate’s camera, but it’s not the same. And recently, I feel increasingly guilty that I haven’t returned it to her yet. I probably should . . .

This all leads me to a little preachiness on the importance of having excellent pictures to go along with your blog posts. I really can’t say enough about it. Honestly, every time I write one of those “the challenge” sections, I end up saying something to the effect of “Include pictures of your _______.” (Fill in the blank with whatever random concept I’m telling you to start a blog about.)

I could say some pithy quote about pictures being worth a 1000 words, but honestly my reasoning is just that people like to look at pictures. Even as adults, we’d rather feast our eyes on books, webpages, instruction manuals, etc. that are filled with illustrations rather than settle for dry, word-only content.

So there you have it. What, did you expect me to include a picture or something?

photo negatives and unedited memories

We rarely develop pictures anymore. I, for one, upload my photos to my computer, edit them, post them to facebook, and that’s the end of that.

One of my friends was recently telling me that eventually they’ll phase out of developing photos at all in places like Walmart and drugstores, and with good reason. I’m sure the demand has gone way down in my lifetime, since technology makes it almost unnecessary to print photos. (But not to fear, because even if you’re the old-fashioned type who likes to hold photos – they have photo-friendly printers and even machines made just for printing photos on the market. Plus the ever-classic photo booths – my favorite!)

But we still have photo negatives, even with all our technology-savviness and brilliant digital cameras. We have the photos that don’t make the cut, don’t make it to facebook, end up in the Recycle Bin on our computer and in our memory. It’s so easy to edit our lives by deleting, erasing, and just never posting the imperfect pictures or experiences.

The new Facebook Timeline seems to reflect this modern evolution of memory control. Fellow blogger Writingthroughthefog said this very well:

“‘Once you get timeline, you’ll have 7 days before anyone else can see it. This gives you a chance to get your timeline looking the way you want before other people see it.’ Right here, in Timeline’s instructions, I’m encouraged to pluck out my flaws and dismiss memories that aren’t life-altering or amazing.”

Yet even the photo negatives have a place. Life doesn’t come at us neatly edited and picture perfect. It’d be neat to see a blog with all the photo negatives, the ones that wouldn’t make the cut, but are still somehow relevant.

In this spirit, I’ll share some photos that don’t really make the cut. They’re not my best, favorite, most flattering – but they’re still part of my life:

(Note: I’m sorry that this post is so late in coming, but I had planned to use different pictures I took recently and then lost my camera. For more on this, refer back to irony.)

original interactive artwork

Someone should start a blog showcasing their original interactive artwork, artwork “with purpose.” I don’t mean that art doesn’t have purpose of its own volition (The scholarly debate on this subject is too extensive to go into.), but what I mean is if the art also had user-interactive purpose. A blog of this kind could provide optical illusion artwork, or artwork with hidden items (like the I Spy and Where’s Waldo? series we loved as children). Or mazes!

Mazes are these manipulated confines for getting lost in, just so you can know the joy of being found, or unlost. Isn’t it interesting how much we hate the feeling of being lost in a crowd or in an unfamiliar place, but when we go through life-size mazes, we get lost on purpose. We can’t see beyond the walls, or in some cases, rows of corn. We know where we are trying to get to, and yet we’ve never reached that end.

On-paper (or in this case, on-screen mazes) are a little less intimidating. In fact, some individuals throughout the long ages of maze existence (but I’m certain not you, dear readers) have cheated and started at the end, working their way to the start. But when you think of it, that doesn’t make the adventure any easier, because you still know one point and not how to get to the other point until trial-and-error does its magic.

The example blog I am sharing was actually the inspiration for this post, so I give a friendly blogger shoutout to mazeingpuzzles and encourage you to drop by the site to see more original, artsy mazes like the one above.

just-for-fun art and illustrations

Wasn’t there some mystery about going to art class back in elementary school? It wasn’t as predictable as math, as mundane as history, as strict as spelling, or as embarassing as gym class. (Plus, you didn’t have to put on an awkward P.E. uniform complete with knee-length granny shorts. Sometimes you could ever wear a cool art vest thing and get messy on purpose!)

But the days of glory came to an end for all of us. (Well, I guess except for art majors. Lucky.) For me, the last art class I got to take was in my freshman year of high school. After that, it was over. Bring on Chorus and Home Ec, but no more Art.

So it’s been about seven years since I had any “formal” art training. I don’t pretend to be an artist or an illustrator. The closest I can claim is to being a photographer. But art still fascinates me, and I’ve tried my hand at it on and off.

It would be so cool to see a blog of just-for-fun art and illustrations The blog would inevitably document a development of the artist, showcase their experimentations, and hopefully even relate to things going on in their lives.

I have a few artifacts of my own from early to more recent attempts at art. I’ll share them just for fun.

I submitted this when I was thirteen to an illustration contest sponsored by my mom’s company. The theme was safety around the house, and all the top contestants were featured in their company calendar for the following year. Mine was selected as the September illustration, and I was so proud of it. It’s nothing fantastic, but it shows my lettering side a bit. When I was young, I would practice different ways of writing letters in all kinds of notes. Class notes. Notes to my friends. Notes to cute little boys in my third grade class. (It happened. What can I say?)

I must say the hair is very realistic.

The next two are more recent, and both relate to The Mountain Laurel, our school’s art and literary magazine. This one I drew for one side of a brochure we produced to hype up our edition initially focused on the theme of the fairy tale. I drew this with marker and then just played with the color on photobucket. I like the color scheme.

I like the blue horse in this one. The joy of art is saying, "I wonder ..." and then trying it.

This last one I drew not too long ago because even though I was on the staff of The Mountain Laurel for a year and a half, I didn’t know what the actual flower mountain laurel looks like. So I looked it up, and drew a single flower on a mountain. I like the symbolism of this one (although it’s lacking leaves and real mountain laurels grow in clusters, thus rendering it unrealistic) because our school is on a mountain, too. The symbolism is along the lines of “a light on a hill,” or this single statue of beauty standing out from its surroundings. Yet it’s still intentionally simplistic and imperfect.

Art is always imperfect, always a "working title." That's why I liked this little image to represent our art magazine.

Recommended blog: The Creative Panic

portraits and how they define their subjects

Someone should start a blog about portraits and how they define their subjects . . .

I recently told some friends I’d love to just follow someone for a day and take a lot of good pictures of them that they would like. My friends say that’s called being a stalker. I defended myself, explaining that it would only be if I were commissioned. It wouldn’t be that creepy, right?

I love taking pictures of people. For me, if someone uses a picture that I took of them for their Facebook profile picture, they might as well have just made me queen of seven countries. I’m on top of the world. I like to see it when someone truly enjoys a picture I’ve taken of them.

A good portrait of a person is one that defines them, in some way. Of course, it’s impossible to define the entirety of a person by just one photograph, but the point is to capture just one image, one glimpse, one accurate portrayal of who this person is. (I liked this recent post from another blogger, entitled “Faces Tell Stories.”)

It would be cool for someone to start a blog about portraits and how they define their subjects. This would be a great blog for a portrait photographer, or just someone who (like me) enjoys taking pictures of people for fun.

So, I’ve collected some of my favorite portraits I’ve taken (of my friends and family members, and a dog):

those times you wish you had a camera

Somebody should start a blog about those times you wish you had a camera . . .

Call me old-fashioned, but my cell phone is a few years old and doesn’t take quality pictures. So I find myself sometimes wishing I’d brought my camera with me. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, though. I try to bring my camera with me at all times, 24/7.

But sometimes I forget, and almost without exception, it’s in these times that something amazing or beautiful happens, and I wish I’d had my camera. Sometimes it’s a sunset, or I pass an old, abandoned house that’s just waiting to be photographed. Other times, my friends are doing the unthinkable, and I have no hard proof to use as blackmail later (not that I would, right?).

One of these moments happened very early in the semester. Someone had played the age-old trick of putting stuff in the school’s fountain, so the whole vicinity smelled of mountains, in a synthetic, laundry detergent sort of way. Honestly, I’ve been here a few years, and every time people play the trick, they believe they’re so clever and no one’s ever done it before. Let this be a lesson to us all: it’s all been done before.

Well, one of my very random and crazy friends decided it was a good idea to take my other friend’s necklace/rope thing (which happened to have his room key on it) and swing it around nearby the aforementioned mountain-fresh-smelling, bee-attracting fountain, and you’ll never guess what happened next! (Can you sense the sarcasm?) It ended up in the fountain!

So we (my crazy, random friend and I) decide to help our key-necklace/rope-owning friend get the key back out of the sudsy soup. We grab his legs as he stretches himself across the teeming waters and disappears into the fluffy white bubbles. At this point, we’re all laughing hysterically (including my other friend Hannah, who like me owns an out-dated cell phone with not really top quality image capturing abilities and who now has the only hard evidence of this event ever happening); well, I’m not sure I can say that my key-necklace/rope-owning friend was laughing, but we heard some muffled sounds and drew our own conclusions. He did eventually find what he went in after.

It’s times like these when I wish I had a camera on me. Of course, a blog recording such times could not include pictures (that’d defeat the purpose), which I’m very fond of. So I leave this mission up to one of you, dear readers.

their neighborhood

Someone should start a blog about their neighborhood . . .

Isn’t it interesting how your neighborhood changes over the years? Kids grow up. People build fences (You know what they say about good fences.). Someone moves out. Someone moves in. The neighbors get a new mailbox. Even just in the seasons, it becomes a new place.

Someone should start a blog about their neighborhood, using lots of photos and just documenting the simple changes that occur over the years.

Here are some pictures of my neighborhood from this fall. I’m sure it will look different even in a year’s time:

I really liked the huge pile of huge things in the backyard of this house.