So the other day, Whitney @ Whitney à la mode left me this lovely comment:
You always look like you are having so much fun in your photo shoots! I just stand there and perform the same old poses each time. I need to take some modeling lessons from you!
I got a truly warm fuzzy inside, this feeling made even more significant because the equation [fun + photos = Maricel] was such a fallacy not so long ago. Those in the know are probably snickering at the thought right this minute.
I hated getting my picture taken. I shied away from the camera like a virgin at an orgy. And in the few shots I managed to get
arm-wrestled cajoled into, my face is captured frozen in a rictus of discomfort.
Therefore, for someone who loathed pictures as much as I did, getting a compliment that implied I was good enough to give lessons in looking good for the camera is high praise indeed.
Here’s the thing, though. For me, every photo posted on this blog is hard-won and carefully curated. For every picture I feature, there are at least triple that number that didn’t make the cut. It’s not really easy. Nor is it fun. It’s a process that requires an elaborate setup with a full-length mirror, a bendy tripod and a garbage bin.
It’s also a state of mind.
They say that a true smile lasts all of one second. Anything after that, and you get the aforementioned rictus of discomfort. I’ve realized that the longer I do this blogging gig, the more I truly appreciate professional models and what they have to go through. Because unless you are naturally photogenic, it’s hard work trying to give the best angle, the best smile, the best pose for that money shot.
And do it again. And again. And again. Ad nauseam.
No wonder selfies abound on the interweb. Think about it: a) it’s usually spontaneous and thus the smile is pretty much one-second genuine, b) if you come out looking like a constipated fish, you can always blame said spontaneity and not have to justify yourself, and c) if all else fails, use a filter.
Not so much with blogging. Readers expect high quality product because of the proliferation of style bloggers out there upping the ante with their professional shots and fabulous backdrops. Style bloggers can’t get away with impromptu selfies. And they certainly can’t get away with being self-conscious or thin-skinned because there will always be people out there who circle around places like this, shark-eager to malign any stumble down this virtual runway, no matter how minor.
(I just hope these forum hounds have blogs of their own; otherwise, it’s pretty bad form to lambast someone for something you yourself have got no expertise in.)
So why even bother? Most of us don’t get paid (I certainly have to keep my day job) and very few of us get solicited for freebies (more on that in a future post).
I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I continue my corner of the ‘verse because I like to write, I need a goal when I write, I figure I get dressed every day, so why not make blogging every day about my clothes my goal? (Follow that train of thought?)
And I’ll probably continue to evolve my love/hate relationship with the camera. I’ll have my good days when I can smile at nothing and tilt my head providentially and capture shot after shot of pure gold. And then there will be my bad days when my lips fight losing battles with my teeth, my arms feel like twin sausages hanging limply from my Frankensteinian shoulders, and my hair is limp and lifeless and needs to be scraped back into a lazy ponytail, leaving my jaw and jowls vulnerably exposed.
What does not kill me makes me stronger, right?
Before I end my semi-soapbox rant, how’s about some intriguing links to peruse at your leisure? (Besides, I promised Whitney…)
- Vogue as a verb: why fashion bloggers pose – The article that started it all. I think Sally @ Already Pretty featured it first on her Lovely Links.
- Pose this way – And then I couldn’t find the above article when I mentioned it to Whitney so I Googled and got this one. Longer, more academic and hitting closer to home because of my ethnicity.
- How to pose like a fashion blogger – This was another hit on my Google search, and I don’t know whether to snicker or gasp in outrage. Perhaps a little of both? I do appreciate a good snark.
- How to pose like a fashion blogger in 10 steps – My English teacher plagiarism radar went into overdrive with this one, especially read in the wake of Not So Lonely Londoners’ piece. Same information notwithstanding, these folks are kinder and gentler and (I think) a lot more sincere so read this to calm you down from the one above.
- Top 10 Fashion Blogger Poses – This is just virtual eye candy. They’re so glossy and fancy and shiny and so out of my league that I can’t even compare, so I shall approach them as professional productions and keep my self-esteem intact.
P.S. On second thought, I do have a secret weapon that allows for that easy-breezy vibe to most of my pics: Fontana winds. When you’re fighting with winds and trying not to flash the camera, it’s quite difficult to take yourself seriously. So get thee to a wind tunnel, style bloggers! And have a blast!