Second anniversary for this blog with a chocolate cake
It was two years ago that I published my first post on this blog. It actually started with a product review, of an eyeshadow palette, go figure. Sure, I do wear make up, most days, and I do still buy make up products and have an opinion on all that I try, and sometimes I still get an urge to share my thoughts with others about my buys and feel like I could post them here like I used to and then don't, because what a turn this blog has taken over these two years! If the first post I managed here might lead anyone to think this blog would focus mainly on product review, the truth is that was never the plan, if a plan there was back then. The more I think back, the more I try to ascertain what really did I want to do with this blog, all through that first year of blogging. Because, and you can read the story here, on my first anniversary post, I posted pretty much about random things here. Mainly vignettes I did in order to play with the camera and the colours and the light.
It was indeed a learning curve in that aspect, make no mistakes, it all started out as some sort of self taught effort on photography, a study in light and texture and style that has allowed me to grow and figure out what I like in terms of photography, what I like in terms of styling, what I wanted to do with this blog. It did not start out by being a cooking blog. And although the first food pictures and the first recipe only made an appearance two months after the first post, that has become the main focus here. I remember I even used to post my outfits on this blog, for a while there. And it was fun, but I never meant to turn this into a personal style blog, those require a lot of variety in the clothing department, a huge investment in clothes and shoes and accessories, and I just don't do that, I don't do hauls. Same as for the make up and beauty products, I buy to replace what I've finished, it's a necessity and a way of life, so this could never have been that sort of blog, really. I wear the same clothes for years on end, I have a pretty well defined style and am not trendy at all.
But I did like the vignette making and vignette photographing part of this blog, I did like that play with props and the creation of a small tableau that somehow spoke of my dreams and imagination. It got lost, somehow, as I have focused more on photographing still life images of fruit or produce, but it was very important to me during the first year of this blog as a learning curve, as a way to test depth and shadow and enhancement of colour, and it was very important as a healing process I needed to take upon myslef. My first pictures where very crisp, very bright, filled with light. Besides my own lack of knowledge and capabilities in photography, I was at a place in my life where I needed light, where I needed to surround myself with light. There had been deep, dark shadows around me for so long I had lost my ability to face the light and live with it. I needed bright colours as I needed air to breathe, and I needed to get myself together and sort of save myself from my own self, if that makes sense at all. I have always saved myself, and have never relied on others to do that for me.
See, I had come from a recent past of very abusive work places, of being very, very unhappy professionally speaking, with jobs that were demeaning, salaries that were demeaning and quite frankly not enough, not worth what I was put through. I had become quite certain I was the lousiest person on earth, the worst professional ever, unable to perform with any sort of quality in a workplace, unable to grow and evolve inside a work environment, a complete and utter failure who would never get a proper job and who would all her life be constrained to some sort of modern day slavery as I was in my last experiences within the working world. The pity I saw and hear on friends and family's faces and voice didn't help, either, with some telling me how unlucky I was that I couldn't managed to get myself a proper job or hold a lousy one down, and others making sure I was aware that I would have to endure that kind of despair and unhappiness for the rest of my life because it was the way things were in the world and there was no way I could simply not have a job, no matter how destructive that job might be in every aspect.
There was indeed this deep veil of darkness surrounding me, much due to these ocurrences, a darkness related to my own sense of self worth, and I believe my photography was highly influenced by that at the beginning, as I needed to surround myself with crispness, briskness, things that were plainly recognisable for what they were, that could render me a sense of security, of lightness, of brightness that might somehow keep all those shadows in my mind at bay. I really felt like I was the grandest failure ever, undeserving of living and breathing. Along with the decision to finally quit trying to find a job and the reality that all I ever got considered for, job related, where demeaning, badly paid, modern day slavery positions, I felt like I was worthless. I felt like I could never do anything right, any good at all. My self esteem was so low, I found myself shutting out people from my life and becoming ever more a reclusive in my home, unable to put up with people telling me what I should be doing with my life and letting me know what a screw up I really was. I kept most people out, and it wasn't all that bad, actually. For the first time in my life I was doing something I always wanted to do, photography, with no qualms for what others might think or say, as they were not there to judge me or put me down. I felt free, for the first time. A piece of crap, but free.
This blog and playing with photography and styling helped me get my mind off of that train of thought, and the more I invested my time and energy on creating images to post here, the better I felt about myself and my own value. The crisp, filled with colour and light photos I took were truly preponderant in bringing me out of that deep well of silent despair. They cheered me up, they gave me hope. So a year passed, and I finally started to feel a bit more at ease with styling and photographing, and began to figure out what moved me, what I wanted to focus on for this blog. Food. Good, honest, homemade, homemaking food. And as I delved into the cooking, I delved also into the idea, the need for finding my own personal style. I immersed myself into other food blogs, I studied the images, the textures, the light, the shadows, the depth. Slowly, I began to understand what I liked to play with, what kind of images attracted me the most, and I took every chance I could to go through online courses and tutorials on food styling and photography that were free of charge to learn more, understand more. I took on every opportunity I could to photograph even more, I delved into my trousseau finding props I didn't even remember I had, I styled with the idea of experimenting different sets, different inspirations, different imageries.
I do feel I have come a long way since 11th February 2014 and the first images I ever posted here. I made my peace with shadows and darkness, I have actually embraced them as something good, something that renders depth and feeling to my photography. I was ever attracted to the dark side, but not that dark side that had its grip on me, the darkness that told me I was worthless and that I did not even deserve to be alive. It's not that darkness that appeals to me, but there is indeed a sort of sombreness that I crave for, I like dark moody pictures as much as I like the occult and its idea of darkness. I came to realize I do prefer my photos to be moody and darkened by heavy shadows, I feel a deep connection to the Russian school of modern day food photography - just check my instagram followings to find out about them! - and my dream was to be able to attend a workshop taught by certain russian ladies who excell in that, as far as I'm concerned. Sadly I cannot afford to attend any type of workshop, they tend to be quite expensive, and so I keep playing by myself and trying to achieve the grandeur I see on those food stylists and photographers that inspire me and that I admire the most. And that is not bad at all, trust me. I have always had to do things for myself and not rely on others to help me get myself to where I think I want to go, so I'm used to the lonesome road - I always envision myself as that solitary cowboy riding off into the sunset on those old westerns!
I know I haven't apparently made something out of this, it got me nowhere, so to speak. I do have days when I still feel like such a loser, such a failure, someone who is simply not talented enough, not hardworking enough, not worthy of suceeding. Somedays it feels like there is a clique, of very talented and special people who are willing to share their expertise but only to those who can afford it, be it by having the money to enter their 'realm', be it by suddenly becoming a hit on some social media network or other that will render them worthy of being included into those circles. Some days it feels like there's this super elitistic club only a few can belong to, and only those will get recognition for their work, and they won't even bother answering a simple comment you leave on their blogs. Some days it feels like those people are so high above you and just look down at you, or don't even see you, and it hurts. Other days it feels like there's this number of people who do a shoddy work, who seem to put no care or effort into what they do and still they are being praised. But then again, most days I get to sit down on my desk and edit the pictures I took and I get to feel like I have evolved so much, and that I am creating beauty and that I am indeed worthy and talented and hardworking enough. Most days I am truly amazed at my own doings and am glad for that. I am grateful for that. So the second anniversary of this blog deserved a cake. And very beautiful images, like these. I'm really proud of these photos. They are all so very much me, my essence, my very soul.
And for the blog's second anniversary I thought a yogurt and chocolate cake might be a great idea, so here's the recipe for this not too sweet and not too heavy cake:
- two plain yogurts (the yogurt vials, once emptied, serve as measure for the rest of the ingredients)
- 1/2 measures of olive oil
- 2 measures of sugar
- 1 measure of cocoa powder
- 4 measures of flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp of rum