I've been a hobbyist photographer since I was ten. My very first camera was a hand-me-down, a Brownie box-style that I think belonged to my grandmother. Back then it was all too easy to double expose frames by forgetting to advance the film between shots, or completely ruin an entire roll of pictures if the film was carelessly exposed it to light. I was guilty of both. With my first cameras, the biggest challenge to ending up with decent pictures was finding a dark, shaded place to change the roll of film. Cartridges were an amazing innovation introduced back in the 70s. You just dropped the film cartridge into the camera, wound it to the first frame, and you were good to go. Best thing since sliced bread.
My early photographs were all black and white. Even as a young adult I could rarely afford the luxury of color film. I recently came across a picture of me taken on my nineteenth birthday. Trust me when I say that black-and-white film just doesn’t capture the full impact of a wild, pink and orange, paisley, mini dress, worn with white fishnet stockings and orange pumps. Maybe that’s just as well.
Today, black-and-white photography is an art form. It’s a way of seeing rather than a sign that one is financially challenged. I have to admit that I love the depth of detail and shadow that you can often only get in what is now called Monochrome Mode. Some of my favorite subjects are bare, twisted trees and the stark skeletons of cacti, or rocky outcrops where the shading from lightest grey to deepest black draws the eye and tells a story.
So, the photograph I am sharing with you here is the first photo I have ever had published (SandScript Art and Literary Magazine, 2018.) I call it Feed Me. As austere as this remnant of a living cactus might be, it made me smile. Not sure what that says about my sense of humor.
Since this is my first post on my new blog, I thought a bit of an introduction might be in order—not to my writing, but to me. We never see ourselves the way others see us, so my perception of “me” might come as a surprise to those whose vision is otherwise.
I believe I’m an introvert trying hard to be an extrovert, which by the way, can be exhausting. Most of my pastimes are solitary: writing, photography, gardening, reading, perusing Facebook…. But, I also love to cook for people and entertain, so friends who have called me “the hostess with the mostess” are shaking their heads in disbelief at the word introvert. Well, here’s the thing about being an introvert; it’s easier to be the hostess of your own party than a guest at someone else’s. Seriously, think about it. You’ve chosen the guest list so you know everyone; you don’t have to make “so what do you do?” small talk; you can stay busy smiling, refreshing drinks, and making introductions. Even the shyest among us can manage that. The flip side, which just occurred to me, is that being more comfortable running the show might mean I’m a bit of a control freak. Hmmm. This might require a bit more thought.
I’m also introspective to a fault, if you haven’t picked up on that already. This, I believe, is the underlying cause of my insomnia. I analyze past conversations and interactions ad infinitum, often beating myself up for something I either said, or should have said, or should have done. I’m self-conscious and insecure, which often conflicts with the image I project. Sometimes I over-compensate. The truth is something as simple as an initial coffee date with a new acquaintance completely intimidates me, and I’m never happy with how I come across. A lifetime of being who you are expected to be can leave you unsure of who you are.
I’m more comfortable sending an email than picking up the phone. I can backspace, correct, and rethink an email. Chatting on the fly is another story. My mind goes either blank or I’ll blurt something out and bury you in too much information. With most people, an eye-to-eye chat is more within my comfort zone. Facial expressions and body language help keep me in check.