Tuesday, May 10, 2011

well, hello again!

Just when I thought I was done blogging for the summer... Turns out, I still have thoughts and opinions galore that need to be written down. I'll admit it: I'm now about as addicted to writing as I am to the Met Opera (this coming Saturday will be the final radio broadcast of the season--Die Walküre).

This past year has really made think about my writing. Until a couple of years ago, I didn't like writing at all--and when I did like writing, I only liked it when I was writing for fun: on my old blog (on JournalSpace.com), emails to friends, etc. But I wouldn't admit it, and in fact, I didn't realize how much I loved that kind of writing (even though I wrote a lot). And I had to be pushed to write stuff for school (I'm homeschooled--and proud)--some of which I didn't even finish (I also had a bunch of unfinished fiction--and yes, I liked starting things, but was horrible with following through). When I was about ten or so I wanted to be a writer and/or illustrator, and then just a writer. Weird, huh? I think what excited me was the idea of writing, rather than the act. In the past, a lot of things were like that for me: the idea sounded really cool, and then when I actually did the thing, I realized that, hey, it's work.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last month or so, you might know that here in Canada we had an election last week (May 2nd). I started off the night listening to CBC Radio One's coverage, and had the webpages of the CBC and the National Post open. And although Radio One was reeling off results as they (slowly) came in, CBC.ca didn't start listing results until 11:30 PM due to a law saying that no one (Elections Canada included) can release election results online until the polls have closed in British Columbia (11:30 PM Atlantic Time). Even so, people found cleaver ways to talk about results on Twitter and Facebook. I heard that on Twitter people were talking about the results in code: oranges = NDP, strawberries = Liberal, apples = Green Party, blueberries = Conservative. Some people were asking their friends in the US for results--and then posting those results to Twitter or Facebook.

I was prepared to stay up until the wee hours, but the election was called just after one in the morning: Stephen Harper (Conservative) had won. And after two elections that had both produced a minority government, he'd finally won a majority. To say that I was less than thrilled is an understatement: I can't remember the last time I was that angry (I cried when the election was called). Harper has already taken advantage of the fact that Canadian politics can come off as boring to do things behind the citizens' backs. Some of them are known, like trying to ditch the long form census, but others, like "weakening regulations so that more pesticide residue could be left" on food, might've passed by without us ordinary Canucks knowing. Which isn't a good thing.

As a result, I've decided to try to follow Canadian politics a bit more than I have been.

Last Tuesday I decided to take the anger that I felt towards the election (and Harper), and channel it into something productive. The result was a triptych with the caption, "Remember, Harper: The citizens of Canada are watching you." I shot the photos (self-portraits) with my computer's built-in camera, which resulted in small, low-resolution images. But I didn't mind: I liked the look and feel of the photos. It gives them an up-to-the-minute feel, since everything, from computers to cellphones, has a camera built into it (and those cameras keep getting better). Though the original photos were JPEGs, I opened them in Adobe Camera RAW and edited them there to take advantage of the control that RAW gives (JPEG just doesn't compare). Once I was happy with the results, I posted it on my Flickr photostream and set up the Creative Commons license so that it's legal for people to download the photo, but not make their own changes, not use it for commercial purposes, and as long as they credit me as the artist.

Download here.

The dark, desaturated look represents what I feel, as a young Canadian woman whose political views have shifted from agreeing with the Liberals no matter what, to being much further to the left than even the NDP in the last couple years. To me, Canada post-election feels very bleak, and my only bit of political hope is the fact that there will be another election in about four years. Start the countdown!

On Saturday, Mom did the farmers' market in St. Andrews. I spent most of my time down there photographing. I hadn't done any photography to sell in St. Andrews in two years, so I was long overdue. I want to try to introduce to the people of St. Andrews the part of me that doesn't exactly play it safe: I've been doing mostly nature photography, and all of my photography has been almost completely SOOC (straight out of camera--i.e., with no post-processing). This time, I want to try more urban photography around St. Andrews, and I want to do more post-processing than I've done in the past. My work won't be as crazy as it was at school, but I want to bring some of that edgy, urban mentality that I discovered this past year to my work this summer. I don't want to feel like I have to lie to my customers, or feel like I have something to hide from them (I went through a really bad lying phase between the ages of twelve and fifteen--give or take a year--and since then I've moved in the opposite direction: these days I try to be as honest as possible without being brutally honest, à la Simon Cowell). Look out, St. Andrews!

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