Monday, May 28, 2012

Photography and Quilts

One of the hardest things I do as a quilter is photographing my quilts.

The art historian in me just wants to photograph the quilt as is. Nothing fancy. Nothing special. Just the quilt hung up against a white wall so I can easily crop the image in GIMP or Photoshop or whatever image-manipulation I'm tinkering with at the moment.

And obviously, the art historian in me never wins because I don't have an example of this.

The theatre professional in me demands that I take the necessary pictures as quickly as possible. Frankly because I'm typically late with a wedding gift or a baby gift or a "Cheer up and I love you" gift. Again nothing fancy. And nothing special. Just the quilt on my pale wood floors in my music room/library, with whatever light is available at that time of the day and the camera on my phone. Followed by way too much tinkering with the colour through the image-manipulation software.

And sometimes, its just the quilt folded on my ironing board (see above).

It's not that I don't want to shoot beautiful photos of the pieces of art I have complete; it's just that I don't have the time.

When I do, there are days, few and way too far between, that I have time to be the photographer and photo editor I once was. I take out my film-based cameras, pack up all the quilts I still have in my possession, and head out to a local park in an attempt to capture my quilts in natural lighting.

Because my skills are so rusty, I often shudder at what I produce. But other times, I find myself re-learning photography all over again and enjoying every minute of it as I lug around my cameras and quilts. So many of my skills in photography are based in photojournalism -- does this tell a story? It is my main focus If a picture doesn't speak 1000 words to me in a matter of seconds, I'm likely to toss it out. But one item I have learned is that quilts don't often tell a story in of themselves through photography -- they are more likely able to tell us a visual story of beauty -- than anything else.

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