Early Work, Cringing and Reflection

Recently I decided to make a Flickr account. I went to type in my handle, KaitlinObscura, for a username and saw it was already taken. Who the hell has that name? Lo and behold, I did. I had completely forgotten about my old Flickr account that has been laying in the realm of cyberspace for the past five years or so. I checked it out curious to see what I would stumble upon.

High contrast, saturation, gaussian blur, sepia, weird filters, airbrushing, bad watermarking, the works. Holy mother of god why did people ever trust me with a camera? I am truly sorry for all of those poor poor people depicted between pages 3 and 5. And the account name…SoftenedLight…what the hell does that even mean? Here’s some of my favorite treasures.

Look at our nation's monument; glowing in that natural halo. Water was quite blurry that day.

Look at our nation’s monument; glowing in that natural halo. Water was quite blurry that day.

Because you know…dead deer and beer really screamed "photograph me!"

Because you know…dead deer and beer really screamed “photograph me!”

Color spotting because it's super cool and you can make stuff stand out. Plus that watermark.

Color spotting because it’s super cool and you can make stuff stand out. Plus that watermark.

Dat sunset.

Dat sunset.

I must have been coming out of my gothic phase around this time because I actually thought a squirrel hanging itself was photo gold.

I must have been coming out of my gothic phase around this time because I actually thought a squirrel hanging itself was photo gold.

Posterize it!

Posterize it!

Allison, I'm really sorry I did this to your face.

Allison, I’m really sorry I did this to your face.

Can't shoot bokeh with the lens? Add it in post!

Can’t shoot bokeh with the lens? Add it in post!

Blurry. blonde, green….Tumblr phase 1.0

Blurry. blonde, green….Tumblr phase 1.0

Speaking of phases…..

Speaking of phases…..

…..bad flash and scary clowns.

…..bad flash and scary clowns.

Mystical.

Mystical.

Who is this? Why is she naked and why was I photographing this?

Who is this? Why is she naked and why was I photographing this?

OHHH STOP. A reflection.

OHHH STOP. A reflection.

Be unique.

Be unique.

selfie.

selfie.

Ok now that you guys have seen my soul in the form of my earliest photography work I can now tell you the reasoning behind this blog post. So many times people will email me or FB me asking me for tips on how to shoot better, how to edit better, how to get better at photography in general. My advice is always “keep shooting, you will improve”. A lot of beginners see professional work and think that they’ll never reach that level or that their work will never achieve the composition and technical skill that they see in their role models. You cannot compare your beginner work to that of a seasoned professional. If any professional tells you that their current work has always been consistently the same and of the caliber that it is now they’re lying to you. You have to experiment to find your flow, your style. It takes awhile and there will be many victims in the process but it’ll be worth it. 

I’m constantly growing as a photographer. One day in a few years I’ll look back on my current work now and cringe in the same way I am at these photos today. A true artist is rarely ever satisfied. The photos above suck….they’re pretty darn bad….but I’m happy I have them and I’m happy I can look back on them and see how much I’ve improved in the past five years since I started my journey. I didn’t even realize what a huge jump I had made in not just technical skill but also my composition and portraying of emotion. It’s really something to look back and realize your journey was in fact a journey and not just something stagnant. I shot many of these with a Nikon Coolpix point and shoot, my MacBook camera, and a Canon Rebel XSi (yeah, the one that’s now outdated by like, seven years). Gear makes a huge difference but the biggest difference will be made in your choices of experimentation. Do it, experiment. Don’t be afraid to make ugly photographs.

Keep on keeping on everyone. If you ever feel like you aren’t going anywhere in photography just think of that cupcake photo above and all will be ok.

Kaitlin

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