I took photography in college. I was deep in my drinking days and had chosen to mostly blow off going to school because I was making big bucks working at Wendy’s. I’ve had my share of bad decisions. When I decided to give college yet another try, I went and applied myself in photography.
Until I got bored. I sold my film camera and tools to do developing in a lab. I just wasn’t very interested in pursuing a career where my best shot was to work in a photo lab. We HAD computers. We were doing amazing things with early versions of Photoshop. Why was I sweating away here in the dark developing photos that I was pretty sure were either not composed to my liking or most likely incorrectly exposed? I learned a lot, but I quit again. The teacher stressed the importance of knowing how to develop film, in case we couldn’t get it developed at very busy labs. He was almost right. Now we can’t get film developed in half the number of places, but not because they’re so busy, it’s because it’s becoming obsolete.
My early photography on digital is about 10 years old now. When I was starting out, I was looking for a place to share my photos and maybe make a few bucks. I did make a few bucks, like three exactly. I joined
Redbubble, a page that wanted to be a social network for photographers. Photo buffs would start individual pages for their interests, like noir photography, nude photography, covered bridge photography and so on. I found that these little dictators would pick their own, and their best friends’ photos in all the contests, would put them up on the front page constantly. This led to many hurt feelings and, yes, multiple pages and groups detailing the same things over and over. Covered Bridge Group, the Covered Bridge and Lighthouse Group, the Covered Bridge and Cupcakes Group, the OTHER Covered Bridge Group, the Bestest Covered Bridge Group. It was a racket. On top of all that, nothing ever sold, but when I did get something sold it was such a high markup that I’d end up making a few dollars on something that the customer paid $20 for. It was a joke, and I stopped contributing photos.
Flash forward to today, when I got an email telling me in their oh so hipster fashioned email, that I’d made some money. $2.50 on a print that the customer bought for $30. I had it. I went into Redbubble, explained that they don’t give crap to the artists for their work, and that they should follow me here. I can make notebook covers, pillows, mousepads too and I can do it cheaper and make more money out of the deal. We’ll see how long it lasts on there before Administrators block my account.
I found a bunch of old photos that had been lost in a computer accident and that were only backed up on Redbubble.
The site used to allow you to store your photos there and use it as a backup tool. They had changed that years ago, and the photos that I had backed up with them became low res JPG files, with very cruddy and pixelated watermarks included. Infuriating to say the least, but a lesson to be learned for others. Don’t rely on only one backup for your photos, no matter if they’re huge RAW images or your family vacation trips. Get them on Flickr, sure, but also invest in a good portable hard drive. Here’s the rub, you have to make sure you USE IT! I personally have an exterior hard drive that I got for $100. I store every single photo I take, and every year in the winter I purge photos that are simply no good for any use. There’s no reason to keep blurry and test shots, but ensure you have THE shot you wanted first, before deleting others that could potentially be one that’s more crisp, or has a bird flying in your scene adding to it. The second layer of backup I have is a Apple Time Machine, which backs up any works that I have working on my computer. I also keep two online storage sites, along the lines of Flickr. Lastly, I have this site itself where I store my photography.
I decided to call this particular entry a grab bag. These are photos that I’ve touched up, that I took very early on in my photography career. Some of them aren’t up to snuff and they’re definitely too small to use in many applications. I won’t be making building wraps with these puppies. I wanted to show that if you have the talent and the equipment, you can get some nice shots. To get awesome shots, you have to be the guy in the right place at the right time. Many of these aren’t great shots because of the equipment or talent, but because I was there.