Friday, June 12, 2009

Between the Actual and the Virtual

A fourth dimension has developed between the true color of the yarn I'm trying to post and the color picked up by the camera and then displayed by my computer. Into that nebulous place goes all the light, life and variation of a skein of yarn and out the other side comes something considerably more drab and unimaginative than I like to believe I'm dyeing. To say this process is frustrating to me would be the grossest of understatements.

I have studied much in the way of science my whole life. For me the comfort of science is that when you have a clear understanding of the right process, you can repeat that process over and over with the same result. This is true of chemistry in the most reassuring way, and cooking and dyeing are chemistry. Which means I can mix the same amounts of flour, cream, butter, sugar and salt and I will get scones consistently.

Photography is not a science I excel at. It feels more like a lottery, where I put in time, energy, money, and I get back something very flat. Granted, the real yarn is still around and I can keep trying. But in the end, I eventually have to pick the least bad of the end product photos and use something to post new things on Etsy. I want my work represented to the best of my ability, and in this I am sorely deficient.

It has been pointed out to me, with examples, just how deficient I am. That wasn't a fun moment for me, as I'm very conscious of my own lack of talent and knowledge. I like being good at something. Which I think means investing in photography classes and another, more powerful, digital SLR camera and some lenses. I'll get a better set-up eventually.

Thanks to all my customers that have bought my yarn in spite of my crappy photography. I have only had one less-than-positive feedback and I feel I have done what I can to address it. As with all things, there is a learning curve, and right now I'm feeling it. If I suddenly disappear off the face of the earth, it's because that black hole between the yarn and my camera has finally swallowed me up.

The dude. He doesn't care what comes out the other end, as long he's in at least one shot.


Anne Kaelber said...

Photography is indeed challenging---and in my opinion, more so when trying to photograph the nuances of color in yarn. Have you invested in one of those "studio in a box" sets like you can see on I keep daydreaming of finding something like that on some uber-discount table somewhere...I surely don't want to spend $50 or more on such a thing for "just" my Ravelry stash. :)

In the meantime, I love your photos and your yarns. It is true however, that your photos don't do justice to your yarns! Anne.

Yarnhog said...

I know that black hole well. I find it less disturbing than you do, because I know math is magic and science is unrepeatable--at least for me! (I have degrees in literature, administration, and law; big surprise, huh?)