“Let’s do a photo shoot!” The most dreaded five words for a woman like me who lives and breathes fashion, but doesn’t like being in front of the lens. In a day and age of Man Repellers and street style blogs, I still prefer to let the models do the modeling. Sue me.
Nevertheless, I put on my bedazzled Thor-esque breastplate and decided to man up. Despite my outfit-snapping reservations, I committed to taking pictures again. I threw something together I thought would best reflect my personal style, while still being on-trend. While my mind was telling me “no”, my body was saying “eh, ok. You can do it.”
Before I knew it, I was posing. Rather awkwardly with not one ounce of the effortlessness of a Joan Smalls or even an Aimee Song, but I was trying my best with lots of direction from the photographer.
This wasn’t my first shoot: We get together at least once a season with The Fashion Bomb staff for cute pics, but I almost always grimace at the idea of putting myself up for judgment. I’m either praised for my beauty and great head of hair (which I very much like) or torn to shreds like chum in the razor-sharp teeth of a Great White.
I have a phone full of pictures with roughly 5% comprised of snaps of my visage. Photos with traditional Thai dancers in Bangkok, views of the Dubai skyscrapers, images of the latest Spring 2014 collections…with round about three images of dear old Faith.
It’s quite ironic because this is what I do daily – stare at pictures of outfits and runway looks and critique them.
I’m no self-proclaimed fashionista: I leave the glamour to the Lupita Nyong’os and Kerry Washingtons of the world. I do love fashion and think I have a pretty good sense of style. I used to love a flashy trend, but now I’m much more about functionality and comfort. My normal uniform is a chunky sweater, mini skirt, and printed sneakers: right on the line between the dos and don’ts of the fashion world.
I was quite the photogenic child, taking pictures for dance class or with my friends at parties. I even loved pictures in college – though definitely not of the fashionable persuasion (more like beer bottles and greasy frat boys in the background.) I loved documenting my fun-filled nights for Facebook. Then something changed.
This could be segmented into two trajectories. First, I had matured. I wanted to begin living my life off of social media, in an attempt to really find the balance in my life I so desperately needed. When you’re a blogger, the idea of work-life balance is pretty much null and void, thus I knew I had to have time to break away if I was ever going to cultivate the kind of existence I wanted for myself both now and later.
Second, I believed a kind of rebellion was in order. Style bloggers were popping up daily and really changing the way the entire industry was thinking about fashion. In actuality, they had just become another set of influencers like our favorite “It” girls and editors, but it seemed that everyone had suddenly become starved for a compliment when it came to their personal style. I have always viewed fashion as a form of self-expression so this new era of “Hey, everyone look at me!” styling was all new for me. And might I add, a bit unsavory.
Instagram was an entirely new beast. It had slowly become an actual driver of profits, traffic, and trends, thus adding another social medium to the mix. Another one I was hesitant to acquire. When the NY Times published a piece on the photo-sharing device as fashion’s latest muse during Fashion Week, I instantly cringed. Though I was doing my best to stay away from splashing my face across the Internet, it seemed there was no avoiding it if I was going to stay current.
I’ve become less resistant to the idea of taking photos. I plan to get Instagram in the 2014 (most likely before my trip to Athens in January) and I’m warming up to the idea of doing fashion shoots: the latter is quite fun with hair, makeup, and styling. Now that I’m also writing for xoJane, showing my face is a prerequisite, so I’m hoping this lovely little online community will coerce me out of my shell. It isn’t so bad when you’re surrounded by other courageous women who aren’t afraid to put it all out there in the name of telling their stories.
With a new year comes new thoughts, so who knows what my photo future will hold. For now, I’m still predisposed to let the models do the work they’re paid to do, while I do what brings in my checks: sitting behind my computer and being the fashion nerd that I hope Robin Givhan can be proud of.
With a new year comes new thoughts, so who knows what my photo future will hold. For now, I’ll keep my face hidden. Unless Peter Dundas or Idris Elba urge it to come out of hiding.
Are you a selfie person? Or do you like to keep your personal life (and face) more behind-the-scenes?