Sunday, October 20th, 2013


I’ve decided I want to be a photographer. Specifically, I would like to be the sort of person who gets paid to take portrait photographs and to document important events such as weddings and pregnancies and newborns and such. Death is another important event I would like to photograph, but the chance of that is pretty slim.


I know I have a lot to learn. I have to learn about photography stuff, such as lighting; people stuff, such as asking strangers if I can take their picture; and business stuff, such as asking for money and networking, networking, networking. I have begun to educate myself by reading books and blogs. I was reading Zack Arias’ blog when I came across a particularly intelligent comment by self-educated photographer Deanna Whyte, so I wrote her a note. She directed me to Melissa Jill’s site, among other places. What a trove of information!


Most of it is stuff I cannot entirely practice yet. For example, Melissa Jill talks about focus and lighting in photographing wedding detail. Wedding detail, I learned, is sort-of like “Still-Life With Cupcakes.” Wedding details are the the things that people pay a lot for at their wedding but that guests will mess up immediately. Most people probably get the general effect of wedding detail but are unable to appreciate the amount of time and attention spent on creating it.Β This is why it is good to photograph the details.


Invariably, aΒ few months down the road when the newlywed couple is paying off their credit card bills, the groom will say, “Honey, I can’t believe we spent two-hundred dollars on a pile of lady-fingers!” This is the perfect opportunity for the bride to pull out the wedding album and say, “Yes, Dear, but look how beautiful it was.” Then they curl together on the couch, pouring over beautiful photographs. There they loose one-another in the romance of wedding and once again completely forget about the credit card bill.


I want to be that photographer.


Unfortunately, I haven’t been invited to many weddings lately. Fortunately, that does not prohibit me from photographing the concept of detail. For example, I turned the compost yesterday. Turning the compost, like wedding, is a highly ritualistic activity. People who don’t care for compost heaps might not see it that way. They certainly won’t notice the detail.


For example, again, I make a lot of bone broth soups. I’m not talking just chicken and turkey here; I mean cow. Cow bones are big. The decomposition rate of cattle femur is comparable to that of your average dinosaur bone. In the past year, my compost has become overrun with bones. I decided to cull them. I’ll take them to municipal composting site and let them deal with osseous waste.


Lest not the bones be forgotten,

I set them on a table in the early morning sun to photograph their multi-faceted foramen.10 20 13_5860




2 Responses

  1. Katie says:

    I love your photos…especially the compost one. Beautiful bones. About photographing death, I was really sad when I realized no one took photographs (or shared them, at least) form my father’s wake and funeral. The wake was so beautiful and full of things my dad loved that it would be wonderful to have photographs from it.

    • Jessica says:

      I think I am going to set out two bowls on Halloween: I will set out a bowl of bones with a note that says, “Bones. Take some.” And I will set out a bowl of candy with a note that says, “Candy rots your teeth. Eat at your own risk.” I will put a light at each bowl, a light at the pumpkin, turn off all the lights in the house and put a note on the door that says, “Do not knock. We are dead.” When Iris is older, I will try to get a bit more Halloween spirit and maybe answer the door.

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