Sunday, May 29, 2011

Digital Exposure

This blog entry was inspired by my dear friend Angella's recent blog entry about her discovery of the amazing world of photo-editing programs.

I used to be a digital artist.

Funnily, the self-hating voice in my head didn't want to let me type that, it wanted me to type "I used to consider myself a digital artist."  Be quiet, stupid voice.  I really was an artist.

Back in the early 90's my then-boyfriend brought home a Mac, with a very early version of Photoshop.  I had been laid off work and had nothing better to do than play around with it.  The fact that we didn't have internet access may have played a big part in the time I dedicated to Photoshop.

I am also very sad and ashamed to admit that the very first photographs I played around with were photos of a co-worker that my then-boyfriend had taken of her, naked, in our house, before he cheated on me with her.  Why am I sad and ashamed to admit that?  Because what the fuck was I still doing with someone who cheated on me, in our house, then kept the naked photos of her, then put them on our computer?  Gads.  Everything is a process, I learned a lot of valuable lessons, etc etc etc.  Ugh, though.

I was not very happy back then.  I took the photos and did horrible things to her in Photoshop; making her look ugly and deformed and scaly and green.  Then boyfriend got home from work and saw them and said, "That's not very nice," and I gave him one seriously rage-filled look and he shut up.

I spent hours at it, and moved on to other photos, snapshots from my childhood, advertisements, images of celebrities, and slowly I learned how to use Photoshop.  And it felt good, I was genuinely expressing my emotions through art, for the first time ever in my life.  During this time in my life I went from being a creative person to an actual artist.  I made a couple of dozen that were pretty good; I printed out posters and sold them in a little hippie shop downtown.

Finally I broke up with the guy and bought my own Mac.  I worked harder and got better. I worked up the nerve and submitted a few pieces to galleries.

This won honorable mention at the OVAL gallery in downtown Orlando:

It's a photo of my next boyfriend (taken when he was 12) with a note he had written to me on gold Joss paper layered on top.

This was in the same show:

It is a photo of Johnny Depp as Crybaby, just copied and flipped and inverted.

This was in Orlando's Nude Nite:

I was becoming increasingly frustrated by having to use other people's photographs for my digital art (the one above was borrowed from a photographer acquaintance) yet somehow when I was finally able to afford my own digital camera I became more focused on photography and less interested in digital artwork.

It has been occurring to me lately that I miss it.  So here's my goal:  I want to take a photo of someone this year, funk it up in Photoshop, and submit it to be in next February's Nude Nite.  It's been a decade since I have really spent time making digital artwork, other than my blog headers.

Now I just need to find someone to pose naked for me...