Portrait of a Work-Shy Young Student

As I write this post, I am supposed to be finishing a Powerpoint presentation for the digital photography course I have been doing for the last couple of weeks. But as with many daily functions I perform, the process is fraught with procrastination issues and so here we are, on the blog. Tomorrow we are having an exhibition to celebrate the end of the course, which will be held in the corridor right outside the room where we have been doing the course. I think we’re also supposed to celebrate the photographic art we have all created, but currently it remains to be seen whether the exhibition will bring out those kinds of feelings in anyone. There will, however, be food at the exhibition opening (the whole exhibition is only going to be in existence for about four hours, but it sounds high-brow to say we’re having an opening).

We are each supposed to bring a plate along (so many ‘supposed tos’ to ignore deal with right now) in the manner of the dreaded pot-luck. I have reached a slight stumbling block when it comes to that because my oven seems to have stopped working and I have not the time nor the inclination to sort it out right now. The easy solution to this would be to bring along a salad, a platter of club sandwiches, a selection of antipasti, cheeses or crudites, or a fruit basket or just ANYTHING that isn’t baked, but instead I am going to get out the deep-fryer and fry some dough.

Since making bread is the ideal task for people who prefer long periods of hands-off waiting around to be part of the process, I have plenty of time available to do my Powerpoint presentation. I’ll just finish this blog post first though.

For our exhibition images, we were briefed that we needed to plan and shoot a scene that had to include at least one human and one object. This is just about as broad as you could possibly make a brief, with the exception of saying ‘just go do whatever you want and stop asking me questions’. My strategy was to get a book out of the library and flick through it to find some images that I thought were good and see what sort of ideas crept to the surface. I came across this image of a fisherwoman which I really liked.


Renger-Patzsch, A. (1924). Crab Fisherwoman.

I became interested in how the lives of people of the past have been documented by showing them working at their trade or holding the tools that they used to earn a living and that defined who they were. I then thought that if I were an old-timey working class peasant I would feel so dismal about the fact that my life revolved around (presumably) cooking food and how all the other peasant-y villagers would just know me as ‘that woman that cooks food and eats half of it before she can sell it so her family are always looking scruffy and extra-poor’. So I did a similar thing to Renger-Patzsch, but focussed on a person’s hobby instead of their work, because I think that the things people choose to do in their free time tell something meaningful about them in a different way to their jobs.

Having said that, my model was my husband, who basically goes on camping trips with his buddies for a living, so telling the story of his life in an image that conveyed his chosen hobby was not really that far removed from his professional life anyway. But you get the general concept. We went out to the coast at fuck-this o’clock in the morning to get a good shot of him looking majestically off into the seascape while wearing a wetsuit and neoprene booties and holding flippers and a speargun. He pulled it off remarkably well, mainly because I didn’t get him to wear the snorkel gear and the wetsuit hood that is inexplicably in a small woman’s size (it’s not mine; I don’t tend to go for physical activities much).


So now I own a good camera and have the knowledge to use it, and hopefully the hypothetical villagers will someday know me as ‘that woman who cooks food, writes a completely inane blog about food, takes photos of food, and obviously does little else with her time that doesn’t involve food in some way’.

The doughnuts are ready now. The Powerpoint presentation is not.


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