Sunday, January 26, 2014

Authenticity Revisited

I'm attempting to write this post in the midst of a problem with intermittent internet service that's been going on for almost a month. We've had tech guys visit from Bell, and I've spent HOURS on the phone with Levels 1, 2 and 3 people, and there's yet another tech guy coming tomorrow. Bell must think I have nothing else to do with my life other than troubleshoot and wait at home for technicians. My frustration with Bell's customer service is almost greater at this point than it is with the actual recurring outages. If I have to spend another two hours on the phone with someone like "Cosimo",  (my latest non-helper with apparently no surname) I might have a stroke. There, that's out of my system--for now at least.
Did you read Sarah Hampson's latest piece in the Globe? It's about moles, fashion photography, and authenticity (a different type of authenticity from my post on having an authentic life). Really, it's about how readers/viewers connect best with photography that has not had all imperfections air-brushed away. We identify best with models who combine beauty with some degree of the ordinary, although authenticity, as Hampson points out, does not mean that we don't want images that make the most of good lighting and quality photography.
I think it's this authenticity issue that attracts me to Anno 1790, which I so recently binge-viewed. Of course, none of us really knows what it was like to live in Sweden at the end of the 18thC, but this series makes it clear that there was probably quite a lot of mud and cold, not to mention a great deal of difficulty getting clean. And this was the age of the "patch", i.e. the artificial mole, those chocolate chips of beauty, referred to by Hampson.
I have to plead guilty to some misdemeanors in the authenticity department. I'm not a professional photographer. I have a tiny little Canon camera and an Ipod Touch, neither of which I have spent enough time mastering. However, I realize that I've probably been over-focused on taking shots of my daughter, Isabel, in my sweaters. She's one of those super-petite, bird-like young women (entirely unassisted I'm happy to say by any diet or exercise regime), who happens to be quite photogenic. (In real life she specializes in the geeky/nerdy look.) She is not an ordinary shape or size. It's convenient for me to use her because she's living at home while attending university, but the time is coming when she will no longer be so available to me, and I'm already giving some consideration to what comes next. What sorts of models do you like to see modeling handknits? To what extent does the model make a difference for you? I'd like to know.
In the meantime, our Narnian-style winter continues unabated. Yesterday we had strong winds combined with yet more snow. I took a couple of photos of passersby as they fought their way up the street.

The wind piled snow up against our back door and windows so that we could barely see out.

"Wheatsheaves", the test version, is almost done, thanks to the weather.

This version is for Isabel, but I think the vanilla version is the one you'll see in the finished pattern--assuming that Bell figures out how to keep us connected.