I’m going to share a little secret with you. Shhh – don’t tell anyone. See, I’ve always wanted to be a visual artist. Not instead of being a verbal artist. Oh, no. I want to be an artist with many hats, a modern-day da Vinci, if you will. (Well, minus the science and anatomy stuff. And the scruffy beard, of course.) Thing is, I don’t have a lot of visual-artistry talent. My latest theory is that my mother only had so many artistic genes. She gave half of the writing ones to my oldest sister, half to me, and she tossed all the visual ones at my younger sister.*
So, no drawing, painting, sculpting, or other fun visual artistry in my future. However, I’ve often wondered if, buried deep within my psyche, lurks a talent for pointing, shooting, and Photoshopping. I have no evidence to back me up, but in this realm, and much like Nicolas Cage and acting, I refuse to let lack of talent hold me back.
Given my secret desire to be the next Annie Leibovitz, you can understand my excitement when I heard my editor and friend, Frannie Zellman, say we needed pictures for the cover of our forthcoming poetry anthology, Fat Poets Speak II. (The first edition, Fat Poets Speak, is available and chock-full of awesome, body-celebrating poetry. You know it’s a quality selection when it features seven or eight of my poems in there.) :) I’m currently on vacation in Florida and North Carolina, but I shoved aside sorta-in-laws, teaching duties, and romantic obligations, grabbed a cheap-but-usable digital camera, and started snapping shots like a boss. I manipulated lighting, I used angles, I tried to leave lots of blank space or pack it full of diagonals. I mean, hey, two years ago, I totally dated a photographer for a month. I must have picked up some moves, right?
Whether or not we fat poets use any of the pictures I shot and edited in very basic photo software, I had a blast doing it. I may not be exceedingly talented, but why let that stop me? And if I also get to share my attempts with the world, how much of a bonus is that?
Oh, and before you ask, no, I am not the model in the pictures; I’m not even remotely adept at taking time-delayed shots. No, I am the creative madwoman behind the camera.
* You can see why I eschew the science-y stuff.