I had so much fun food styling last week that I decided to keep going with the weekly Creatively Squared challenge again. This week was all about celebrating fresh food. The brief was to show the journey that our food takes from being picked to being cooked. The #cs_farmtotable hashtag really put fruit and vegetables at the forefront in their raw form. Colours had to be natural and vibrant. Showcasing these ingredients in all of their glory to prove that it worth picking them out of the ground.
This might end up being a quick one tonight. In fact, this whole week might be a bit off because today my sister gave birth to her first child. She wasn’t due until next weekend and we were all kind of convinced she’d be late So, this has knocked us all for six really. But I’ll try to keep up with my schedule. And I’m starting off with last week’s Creatively Squared challenge. It was all about using lighting to create mood in the #cs_inthemood hashtag. To be honest, I wasn’t really in the mood for this tag so I didn’t go about it with the same gusto as normal. My mood is normally calm and clean, which I knew wouldn’t go down well with everyone in the community.
So the Creatively Squared challenges have had a bit of an overhaul this month. From now on, each month will feature a specific topic and each week there will be a challenge based on that topic. June is all about lighting and how you can use it to change your photos. To start us off, we were encouraged to have fun with sunlight under the #cs_chasethesun hashtag. I always shoot using natural light but I do admit to editing the fuck out of my photos. It’s because I’m currently shooting on two very messy pieces of white cardboard so I need to do a lot of work to get it clean again. I don’t do much other than making the background a bit whiter but my photos always do have a slightly artificial look about them. So, I had to find a way to approach this that would mean avoiding my dirty backdrop.
It’s been a super hot week in the UK. I’ve been so uncomfortably warm in the office. So, when this week’s Creatively Squared challenge was #cs_warmup it seemed like the perfect chance to take advantage of the sun. Now, I’m not exactly a lover of Summer. I’m super pale and get really uncomfortable sitting outside for too long. I get super itchy and have to find shade. Then there’s the fact that I burn within minutes of the sun coming out if I’m not covered in factor 1000. But, I can appreciate the sun. It always inspires me to get my camera out and take photos of flowers. If you think I spam people on my book Instagram, have some sympathy for my personal account followers. It’s all flowers, trees, and pigeons right now.
So, if you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I got a bit mopey this weekend. I try not to focus on numbers and engagement but sometimes it gets to me. It came straight off the back of a person with about 10 times the followers I have moaning about how bad her engagement is. I know everyone is struggling but let’s get real. If you’re moaning that only a few hundred people are seeing their posts then you need to get a reality check. Last year I thought I was onto a good thing with my feed. I was getting fairly good engagement for the size of my account and was getting new followers regularly. Now? It’s all gone to shit. I’ve been stuck on the same numbers for ages and it’s affecting my photos. Instead of doing what I want I’m trying to create content that I think will get more likes. And I’m not happy with my regular feed Which is why I put so much more effort into these challenges. Which still gets to me because I see people who put in way less effort getting way more appreciation. But I guess this is quite subjective so who am I to say which photos are good or not. Still, I feel like this ” close community” isn’t quite as welcoming as they like to believe. They’re quite formulaic with who they chose to share. It can be really disheartening. But, then again, I’m probably just having a bad weekend. I’ve been feeling a bit down for the last couple of days. Best ignore me.
For just over a year now, I’ve been fairly consistently creating photos for the weekly challenges set by Creatively Squared. At its heart, Creatively Squared is a website that brings together content creators and brands. The platform has a database of different creators and will match each brand with the most suitable people for their purposes. It’s a fantastic site but I’ve not had the nerve to sign up as a creator. For one thing, I’m still very new at this whole photography thing and, for another, I’d be worried about having adequate time to create. But, for professional creators, it’s a brilliant thing to be involved with. If you’re more of an amateur like me, then you can join their weekly hashtag challenges and become part of the community. Each week a new theme is announced and you have from Monday to Sunday to post your entry. The best are shared through the platform’s Instagram page and, at the end of the week, an ultimate winner is announced. With prizes sometimes up for grabs and the chance to be noticed by other creators, it’s a wonderful thing to be part of.
As we already know from this blog, I’m a hugely petty person. It’s a source of much mirth for my family that I watched the film Dunkirk simply to prove my sister’s boyfriend wrong about it. What can I say? He was wrong and I wasn’t about to let him get away with it. So, yeah, pretty petty. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that the only reason I finally decided to read Autumn by Ali Smith was due to my need to prove someone wrong. An account I follow on Instagram didn’t exactly react well to the news that Lincoln in the Bardo had won the Man Booker Prize last year. That, in itself, wasn’t enough to incense me despite the fact that I thought George Saunders was absolutely deserving of the prize. I get that Lincoln was a divisive book and understand why some people may not have enjoyed it. It’s not conventional literature and a lot of people prefer the safety of a traditional narrative. It was only when this person made the bold statement that Autumn was the only book that deserved to win that I couldn’t ignore it. I mean, how can anyone make such a bold and obstinate statement? I had to check it out for myself.