More than words – Learning a new Visual Literacy

I used to write another “wordy” blog for about three years. I didn’t have a huge following, but I had a handful of regular readers, some of whom became my friends. It was great fun and I’m proud of the body of work I created for it.

Creatively, I consider myself a writer first before anything else. So then you might be wondering why I have this photo blog if I am really a writer?

Well, I’m exploring a new way of expressing myself. I happened to come upon making images kind of by accident. My other blog was a Second Life blog which I started so I could have somewhere to write about my adventures and thoughts about virtual living and identity. A Second Life blog needs pictures, in my opinion, because it is an immersive virtual world and very much a visual experience. So, I started taking screenshots of Second Life to go along with my blog posts. Photography in Second Life is quite different than photography out in the real world. Some people wouldn’t even call it photography at all. You’re basically taking screenshots on your computer, which believe me, takes more skill and knowledge than you might think. The blog header that you see on this blog was created by me in Second Life. That’s the cool thing about this virtual world – you can easily create images or 3D objects that would not be possible in the real world. This type of image making is different in a lot of ways, however, I learned quite a bit about the basic “rules” of photography composition, when to use them to your advantage and when to break them.

From there, I started taking pictures out in the real world with my iPhone and sharing them on Instagram. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “not another Instagram hipster with crappy pictures”. Trust me, I’m not hip and I’m not sure whether or not my photos are good at all. What I know for sure is that I enjoy taking photos and it’s something I want to pursue and learn more about.

While my knowledge and experience are limited, so far I can say that I love everything about photography. I love getting up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings and going down to Lake Ontario to capture the sunrise. I love the crisp air, the dark morning, my warm cup of coffee and trudging across wet sand to find that perfect spot to watch the sun come up. I love planning family outings at pretty spots where I can take photos. I love taking dozens of shots, going through them at home and editing the few, or sometimes even just one shot that has that little bit of magic. I love every single moment of it. What can I say? I’m hooked, and I’m a total nerd.

Photography is a new way of expressing myself creatively. There are some old school photographers that believe this new interest from the masses is nothing but bad news for the art of photography, that it somehow brings it down, it loses it’s value. I only have three words to say to that – “I don’t care”. I know what feels good for me and I’m gonna keep on doing it no matter what anyone says about it.

Every picture tells a story, as the old saying goes. Some people are good at telling such stories, others not so much. One thing I think is clear is that more and more people are taking an interest in sharing visual information whether it be through graphic art/computer generated images, or cell phone photos of daily activities like riding the subway, waiting for the bus, or going for a walk with the family. As mundane as these images may be, I think they tell a larger story that only becomes apparent when you take a step back to look at the greater sum of all the parts. I’m fascinated by photostreams on Instagram and Flickr. I always look at them as a whole and they tell me something about the story of that particular person. I love pretty photos that are pleasing to the eye, but what I’m really interested in is the stories those photos tell of the person who took them.

This blog is about me learning this new visual literacy of the 21st Century. It’s my tool for sharing, learning, connecting and getting some perspective on what the story is that I am telling. It’s the story of me, my life and how I see and experience the world. I hope you’ll join me on my journey.

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4 thoughts on “More than words – Learning a new Visual Literacy

  1. Lizzie Gudkov

    Your photos are awesome, very expressive, and certainly telling a story! I’m glad to be a part of your journey. Thank you for making my day richer in color, in images and in thoughts. 🙂

    Reply

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