Friday, July 30, 2010

Elaine Interview (Totally Like Me)

I've only been following Elaine at Totally Like Me for about a year and she's one of my favorite photobloggers. Mostly because she always comments back. Kidding, I really like her approach, where I do a minimal amount of processing because I'm lazy, she turns ordinary every day photographs into art with her mad post production skills. She agreed to reveal all her darkest secrets in an interview, so behold the following.

How did you first get into photography? Who gave you your first camera, or did you purchase it yourself? Was it film or digital?

When I was in highschool, my friend Cindy and I got kicked out of "Marketing" for sliding record albums under the locked store door out into the hall and getting caught. I figured the next easiest course to take would be photography. I had no interest in it when I started, my first camera I'm ashamed to say was an "accidently donated" Canon AE-1, so I don't know who gave it to me! It was film. :)

What made you decide to start a photoblog? How long have you been photoblogging? What frustrates you most about photoblogging?

I kept trying to start a photoblog for about six or seven years, it was a comedy of errors, I even purchased movable type and paid somebody to design a photoblog for me, because there just wasn't much out there at the time. That site ended up getting hacked and BLOG MOXIE, the bogus designers who made the photoblog for me wouldn't fix it unless I paid them $300 per hour for their trouble. I highly do not recommend BLOG MOXIE. Can I say that here? [Of course you can, we like justified anger - Ed.]

Eventually I settled on a gallery, which is a very lonely existence and wasn't inspiring me to take pictures. The story is much longer than this but to keep it short I was writing a meme called Thursday 13, and I called it 13 reasons NOT to start a photoblog, and my friend Sherri from Pearweed read it and introduced me to Pixelpost and taught me how to launch a photoblog, that was probably 3 years ago, maybe only 2, I don't know, and I've changed hosts several times since Pixelpost... But I owe Sherri alot. I wouldn't have a photoblog at all without her, because believe me I had given up in disgust.

What frustrates me most? Commenting! I couldn't sit there for two hours a day commenting to everyone on my favorites list and others who had commented to me, not without much back pain, now I rely on the kindness of people who will comment first, so that I can comment back thoughout the day. I love getting a good comment though!

Do you try to stick to an overarching theme, or is your photoblog more of a visual journal?

My photoblog I would have to say is a journal, it is an attempt to make the mundane reality of my life into prettiness... I don't get out much, no sweeping landscapes for me, nope, it's my husband and dog, sleeping on the couch that inspires me... Do i take pictures of things OTHER than my husband and dog? I can't think of any at the moment because I haven't slept in nearly two days!

Do you enjoy the computer/technical aspect of photoblogging, or is it a source of irritation?

I do believe that processing photos is my favourite part! Whenever I'm down, in a mood, I will go process some photos and inevitably feel a gentle happiness creep up on me... I'm not a very good photographer, so I think processing is my only hope of creating what I see in my heart, when I look at my dog or husband sleeping :)

What other internet related photography projects have you participated in?

So many I can't count, and no none of them are still live except the last version of in Wordpress is still there, but it has the same photos as the current version. Recall the comedy of errors I spoke of above, we're talking MANY errors.

What is the best photograph you never took? What is the best photograph by another photographer you wish you had taken?

I have a picture on my wall of a seagull in flight, I was panning to catch it in the middle of my frame, and I did catch it in the middle of my frame but it's head is in the shadow of a pier, so you might not be able to tell right off what the picture is, but to me, it's the best picture I never took.

I could not choose between my favorite photographers, Tammy Warren, Sharon Wish, Marcie Scudder, you... Though I do have a picture by Marcie as my desktop just because it captured my heart and won't let go. First Kiss by Marcie Scudder.

What is the most interesting story about one of your favorite photographs?

I was walking into a store and there was a heroin addict slumped over, cross legged, completely passed out. I told the store owner she should call someone, but after I walked out and got into my car, I quickly pulled my camera up and snapped a shot. I felt so dirty doing it. But I felt somehow it had to be done. It turned out to be one of my best photos in that photojournalistic kind of way, but I can't really look at it for long because it is comprehensively depressing!

Many of your photographs are post processed quite elaborately. Tell us about you come up with ideas - do you have a vision in mind when you begin, or is the final image more of an improvisation?

I know I know, hehe, lately, for the last 6 months or so, I have been trying not to process so much because somebody insulted me about it. I deleted the comment because I don't accept anything negative on my blog, but deleting it out of my mind was a different matter. I stopped using such chunky textures and such, but in the end I just replaced it with blur and "that 70's look"... I process therefore I am :) I usually have a vision before I start processing, but also am often quite surprised by my end result.

Enough about your photography, tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a smitten Christian, I adore my husband, I used to be a total physics freak, I've seen beauty in many aspects of life.

Favorite guilty pleasure?

A bottle of Bailey's, but now I have quit drinking, quit smoking, I'm very Mary Poppins, "practically perfect in every way" :)

Favorite brand of pasta?

I love the chicken mushroom linguini at Boston Pizza, but don't get out for dinner often because it's not in da budget!

What is your favorite thing to do when not photographing?

I love to get a pet project in my head and research it for months, whether it's buying a bed, or a camera, lately for the past few months I have been researching how to make money online, I'm about to start a business that I'm very excited about, I could tell you about it, but I would have to kill you.

Have you had any formal training in photography? If so, what did you find most useful? If not, what advice do you have for others making their own way?

Yes, I took that three year photography course in high school, it was a vocational school and I was supposed to make a career out of photography, but instead stayed in school and got my university entrance courses and went on to become a computer programmer instead. The thing that I found most useful about the course was the fact that I took so many pictures over the three years that I started seeing the world through a photographer's eyes, I could frame something in my mind and tell if it would make a good photograph. I have mostly lost that ability from taking so many years off from the art, but to this day I very rarely crop a photograph, the frame I shot is like giving birth to a baby, you don't cut bits off later. That was a very weird thing to say...

What advice do I have? You've got two choices, interesting subject matter, or interesting processing, you choose.

Do you enjoy the community aspect of photoblogging? Give a shout out to some of your favorite photobloggers and briefly tell us what you like most about their work (i.e. what keeps you coming back).

I very much enjoy the community aspect, even if my sore back doesn't. To me a picture is not a picture until I can get a witness. The old if the tree falls in the forest and nobody is there type deal... Google Reader ate my list of photographers and it's blank now, you are one of my faves, the blue sky and brick gets me every time, very sexy lol...

Marcie Scudder - She has got to be one of the luckiest photographers in the world for catching the perfect split second in a shot, and her processing is consistently lovely, misty and moody, but in a good way...

Pearweed - Sherri is a classical artistic photographer, inspired by the world around her she gives the gift of inspiration in return for a visit to her page...

Bluechameleon - Sharon wish makes me wish I could be her, mostly because in my film days all I shot was black and white and i would have killed to be able to make my pictures look like hers, but I think that's only possible in the digital age. Sharon is a combination of all things good about a photographer.

While Standing Still - Tammy is a magical person, I love her and her magic shows up in her art, she is the most amazing woman I know...

Roamin - I actually don't visit his page often because his work makes me so sad that I can't do that, that's how good he is, I can't look!

A Picture A Day Keeps The Doctor Away - Walter is just brilliant in every way, witty and wild, with one of the best eyes for a story.

Hobokollektiv - I love his photography because even when he's not taking pictures of the open road, I feel lonely but still feel the wind in my hair when I look at his pictures, they are sad and satisfying at the same time. They fill my heart.

What's next for you and your photoblog? Can we expect more pictures of your husband and dog? Do you have any shows planned?

You can expect many many more pictures of my husband and dog, I'm actually very inspired by their love for each other and get up out of my chair many times a day to take a shot of them "bonding"... And NO my husband isn't always SLEEPING, he just shuts his eyes when I approach with my camera, he's a bit camera shy, but is very supportive of my art... I've had people suggest I do shows but man I don't GET THAT, haha, my pictures are so boring. I think people comment out of pity :)



At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Marcie said...

Congratulations on the interview. So good to learn more about you and your processes and what's behind all of these lovely images. And - thanks for all of the sweet complimentary words!!

At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Ginnie said...

I agree with Marcie! It's always good to get the juicy tidbits of one's story like this. :) Thanks, Elaine...and Aspherical.

At 11:54 PM, Anonymous Seraphine said...

yay for interviews!
an attempt to make the mundane reality of my life into prettiness <== i love that quote.
pretty is as pretty does.
that goes for both the interviewer and the interviewee.

At 5:22 AM, Anonymous Fritsch said...

What a brilliant interview with one of my all time favourite photographer. Mighty, mighty fine! Totally Love Her. Thanks.

All the best & safe travels, Fritsch.


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