Mally Skok: How Blogging Improved My Photographer’s Eye

November 15, 2011

My dear husband is what is known in the high-tech industry as an early adopter. He has a wonderfully technical brain that quickly understands and sees the possibilities in new technology. I, on the other hand, am just the opposite with regard to technology. About six years ago, my husband began talking to me about starting a blog. I was deeply skeptical; I just didn’t see the point, but I half-heartedly began blogging.

Then I went on this amazing jaunt with my brother and sister, to a farm in South Africa that my crazy brother Andy had bought on the Internet for about $40,000.

Now this is no ordinary piece of land. It covers such a huge swath of terrain that you cannot see the farthest border even when you stand on a large hilltop. It is, however, completely inaccessible unless you have two four-wheel-drive vehicles, in case one of them breaks down. The farm lies between two enormous mountain ranges along the Cape coastline—so, of course, there’s no cell coverage. This amazing area is called the Baviaanskloof—Baboon Cleft—an apt name, as the baboons had ripped the only livable hut to shreds!

We made it. My photos were funny, and I wanted to share them. That’s when I started loving my blog.

My bigger discovery, though, was that blogging enhanced my photography. I began taking my shots keenly aware that they were not just going to disappear into a jumble of iPhoto files, unlabeled and forgotten. I was telling a story, choosing my subjects with care.  Now I wanted my blog followers to enjoy my journeys, big and small, just as much as I did. In fact, knowing that the audience is there has made my photography more fun.

I will never have the patience or talent to become a great photographer. But over the years, here is what I have learned—much of it reluctantly from my husband (and you may be surprised how many of these rules are equally applicable to interiors!):

The human eye loves to follow a curve.

Robberg Peninsula, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

Including interesting characters adds to stories.

Bathroom attendant, road to Agra, India

Side of the road, Oudtshoorn, South Africa

Color, pattern and repetition lend interesting rhythms.

Water bearers on the road to Jaipur, India

Sun dried tomatoes, Route 62, South Africa

It’s important to use some foreground in landscapes.

Sossusvlei, Namibia

The eye likes texture.

Baviaanskloof, South Africa

Reflections add interesting elements.

Sedona, Arizona

Framing makes the subject inviting.

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Often light intrigues me most about a shot.

Sandwich, Massachusetts

Serra Cafema Camp, Namibia

Blogging has made me really love taking photographs. A journey shared is so much more enjoyable, and I am always so thrilled with the comments from my readers. If you feel likewise, I highly recommend starting a blog for yourself—why not give it a try?

—Mally Skok
Mally Skok is an interior designer and fabric designer who lives in Lincoln, Mass. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she moved in the 1980s with her young family to London, where she was greatly influenced by the great English designers and the relaxed English way of life. Eighteen years ago the family came to Boston, but she and her husband still keep a beach house in South Africa. Mally’s African connection and her love of travel deeply influence her global view of the world. She produced her India fabric collection three years ago and is in the process of launching a new Africa collection in showrooms throughout the U.S. and in London. You can check out Mally’s own blog here.