Knitting Photography and Blogging

I made an observation the other day, while looking at my projects on Ravelry.

Almost all of my current projects use either outdated photos, old photos, or images of yarn as their thumbnails.

I made another observation while making a spreadsheet of my current WIPs to form a queue-within-a-queue, as it were, for finishing (I swear, this is completely normal behavior): I have a growing list of projects that are finished but not blogged, for want of photography.

These two observations brought me to the problematically obvious conclusion: I have become lazy about photographing my knits.

As a consequence, I have also been a very bad absentee knit-blogger, which makes me a little sad. I started this blog in part because I loved photographing and writing about my knitting projects. I like making a record of the things I do, making images of my work in its very best light, and remembering what I thought in the excitement of finishing a project. Yes, I have a big shelf in my closet with sweaters, a basket overflowing with hand-knit socks, and another basket started with hats and wintry accessories. But it’s not the same, somehow, to look at a stretched-out sock in need of washing, as to glance lovingly at that same sock when it was first knit, showcased in some of my favorite shoes or shot with a macro lens to show off its tiny, lovely stitches.

Another, and more primary, aspect of knit-blogging that I do really love is the community. I’ve “met” such lovely and interesting people through this modest little blog, and I feel like I’ve cut myself off from that discussion by ceasing to contribute for such long stretches.

I have already enumerated in the past some of the reasons I’ve struggled with photographing my knits, chief among them a lack of attractive lighting/background options, a lack of spare hands to shoot for me, hating the way I look in everything including hand-knits a lot of the time, and of course, the persistent belief that if I try another day, I can get better light/background/help/be thinner etc.

I think another reason I’ve been hesitant about photographing and blogging my knits is that there is a lot of pressure, perceived or real, among knit-bloggers to take the most exquisite, saturated, artistic, and flattering photographs of knits possible. No doubt, some of the photography I’ve seen in knit blogs has rivaled or even topped the images published in knitting books or magazines, and some of it comes close to fine art photography. But the reality is that most knitters do not double as professional photographers, most knitters are not fashion models, and it’s unrealistic to believe that every image can – or should – come out at the level of something that was professionally lit, styled, composed, and processed.

I didn’t start a knitting blog because I wanted to become a professional photographer. I’m already an artist, I make images (yes, including photographs) as their own art form, and the same way I don’t create oil paintings of my knits, I don’t really need to belabor the photo documentation as if I were making fine photography portraits or doing catalogue work.

I am hereby releasing myself from the pressure of knit-porn style photography. I will try to take nice, pleasant images that showcase the knitting’s detail, but I don’t want to replace quality in knitting with fetishistic photography.

Adding to my struggle is the recent and incredibly upsetting breakdown of my beloved digital SLR. I genuinely love that camera, and when its electronics malfunctioned and shut down, I felt a bit like I’d just learned a friend had a terminal illness. I’m going to see if I can get it repaired, and if it’s too expensive, start saving up for a new camera body. Any of these options will take time, and it seems silly to keep avoiding my knitting blog until I’ve restored my camera equipment to full capacity.

So that leaves me with a point-and-shoot, poor February light, a lot of frustration on my part, the continued struggle to find good backgrounds and take flattering photos of myself (I live alone now), and the earnest desire to get back into knit-blogging even if it means shoddy photos for a bit.

And that is going to be just fine. We’re not here to talk about photographs – we’re here for the knitting. I miss connecting with people, learning about their lives, and enjoying their knitting and crafting along with them. Let’s do more of that, please.

Leave your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.