Change of Perspectives – From Snapshots to Creativity
I don’t own a proper camera, instead I take all of my pictures with my phone. Does that make me less of an artist? Am I even an artist? I like to think that I am creative with a camera. I get concepts and ideas in my head. I know where I want the light to be, the angle, the scene. I don’t know what makes someone a photographer or an artist with the camera. But thinking of it in terms of creativity works for me. I don’t own a camera because I can’t afford one. It is as simple as that. But to be honest, phone cameras these days are almost as good as all those professional cameras, so I am going to soothe myself with that thought.
Back in the Day
Back in the day, I owned a camera which needed a film and batteries. I enjoyed the sound of it when you took a picture, the feel of it. But I must admit that I got annoyed that I wasn’t able to see the results of my pictures before I had them developed at a store. Sure, it was a special sort of moment, going to the store and picking up your pictures. But let’s be honest, they were not of great quality: they were blurry, too dark, heads were cut off.
The kind of pictures I took during my teenage years were snapshots of me and my friends, family events, concerts, parties. I never saw it as a way to be creative, just a way to capture moments that I didn’t want to forget. Funny enough, I don’t even have those pictures anymore. they are in boxes in Sweden and Germany. None of those pictures were in any way meant to create an atmosphere, to be artistic. It was more like being a reporter of your life. I don’t think I have a lot of flattering pictures from those years, mostly because I because I didn’t know what angles were, and I never posed for pictures.
Digital Cameras and Webcams
When digital cameras came, I got a cheap one at Aldi (ha!) when they were on sale. It didn’t have a screen where you could check the pictures right away, but you could plug the memory card into your massive PC (you know, early 2000s kind of PCs) and delete the ones you didn’t like right away. For me that was a massive improvement because I felt okay taking hundreds of pictures now, knowing that not all of them were seen by the world. That is also what changed, by the way. Now the audience for your pictures grew. In the 1990s you might have brought your developed pictures over to your best mate and you’d giggle at the snapshots together. Now there was MySpace, there was MSN, ICQ. You could share your picture with others.
This is when I started to pose for pictures, to come up with ideas for scenes and I began to understand angles and lightening. I never was one much for drawing or painting but I have always been someone who is great at collages and mail art. And pictures work the same way for me, I visualize what I want in my mind and then I try to produce a replica of that internal image in a scene. And that is so hard! So I took pictures of myself, posed for them, and found my angles.
And then there were webcams too! I could take blurry selfies. I realized that I have quite a pretty face and that I could fool people that I was skinny!
I also continued to take snapshots of my life, and used online photo diary websites and blogs to journal with the help of photos.
I was pretty late getting a smartphone, for the sole reason that I couldn’t afford one. Once I discovered the flexibility of phone cameras, I totally abandoned the digital camera I owned. I still use my phone camera for snapshots to document my life, for selfies and for creative shots. I own my third smartphone now (well, this one is also already three years old), and I am quite okay with the photo quality.
What I find interesting is how my approach to taking pictures has changed the last few years. One of the biggest changes is probably that I takes nudes now. It was first in about 2015 or so that I started doing that. There are absolutely zero naked pictures of me before that. There are also different audiences that I take pictures for. Some are for myself, some are for my mail art Instagram, some are for this blog, some for my personal social media, and some end up on Fetlife.
I am the queen of selfies. I am really really good at taking selfies. I know the angles that work for my face, I know how to work the filters. I am able to take pictures that look like me, but are really just an enhanced version of what I really look like. I think the way I take selfies has a lot to do with my old body and self image. Well, a lot of times that image is still current too. I just like to be able to look as pretty as possible in certain contexts, like my personal social media. Also, come on, who doesn’t love the cute kitty ears on Snapchat?
The hugest change I have seen is when it comes to taking nudes or erotic pictures of myself. I am not too concerned with angles that look flattering anymore. I mean, yes, there are certain kind of angles that I still avoid (my belly from the side or the bottom, my boobs from the top without a bra). But I feel better with my body. A lot has to do with how I am being perceived by my partner. He never judges my physical experience. which is so very much the opposite of what I have had to endure most of my life.
Fetlife played a big role in that as well. I have not had any negative feedback about my pictures there, quite the opposite. This encouraged me to go from quite tame pictures to posting nudes, some of them very sexual, and even a few videos of me getting flogged and fucked. It was so liberating to realize that I was not disgusting, but that people actually found my body attractive, that I was fuckable!
So instead of only taking creative pictures when clothed, I started taking some in a more erotic context too. And when I discovered Sinful Sunday and Lingerie is For Everyone, I found the right audience for the pictures I had in mind. So now when I take pictures of my body, it isn’t necessarily tied to body image, or how I feel about my shape, or my fuckability. It is about using my body as a tool to be creative. Despite my size, I am quite physically flexible, so it is always fun to try out new angles. Using a camera phone and having found the right kind of audiences for the pictures I take, has been really helpful for me. Not only when it comes to my body image, but also when it comes to my creativity.
Do I have any kind of special emotional connection to my phone camera? No. But I do feel that the new flexibility that has come with it, has given me opportunities that I haven’t had before, just like the digital camera did. It is quite wonderful that anyone can become an artist now, if they so choose to. The tools are so easily available.