The other day, I read a post by Jaclyn Day (one of my favorite ladies in the bloggerverse) titled “I’m giving up (sort of)“, and it got me thinking. And so now I’m all curious what you think.
In the post, Jaclyn talks about how she started taking outfit photos in a mirror, for fun, and then started taking “better” ones (with a tripod, etc)…and then eventually decided to stop.
“I’ve written before that I’ll blog until blogging stops being fun. Well, self-timer tripod shots are definitely not fun for me anymore. There are millions of bloggers out there taking gorgeous, model-worthy outfit photos and sometimes I wish I could do that too, but I just don’t have the time or resources.”
I get this.
You know, the very first time I ever took outfit photos (above) I did it, like Jaclyn, for fun. Because I had a new camera, and basically wanted to play dress-up. I wasn’t really planning on making it a regular thing on RG, but then this person made me angry, and I realized that it was important to me to challenge the notion that I shouldn’t post about fashion because I’m not a “fashion person” and thus “not qualified”. That idea is total crap on many levels, but mostly, here’s the thing: I think that there is enormous beauty in the variety of what people love and choose to put out in the world, and that the confident expression of individuality is important regardless of how it’s expressed. Through politics, through music, through writing, through miniskirts – whatever. It’s all good stuff.
So eventually I started getting more into style blogging, and just kind of did what I thought made sense. But after awhile I started paying attention to the images I saw on other blogs, and I started feeling…not competitive, exactly, but definitely a little…inadequate. Amateurish. Like Jaclyn said, there’s some truly gorgeous stuff out there, and my little prancing-about-on-the-roof pictures started to look kind of lame in comparison.
But I don’t have a photographer husband (although Kendrick does help out from time to time) or passel of artistically-inclined buddies at my disposal, and I’m not the worst photographer in the world, but I’m certainly no professional…and so I just kept…you know…
having fun with it.
And wishing on little stars that the pictures turned out OK. Or at least not horrifying.
Sometimes it worked.
Sometimes it didn’t.
And then I had a baby, and unless I felt like balancing a bouncy seat on my rooftop ledge (mehhh), I was headed back indoors, to the land of bad lighting, Jumperoos in the background, and shoots consisting of five pictures rather than fifty.
So these days my photos are hardly works of art – not that they ever really were – but you know what? They’re what make sense in my life now. They’re a reflection of the way that things are for me these days: mostly good, sometimes bad, and always frazzled. And sure, sometimes I wish I was putting up photos like Rumi over on FashionToast, but the fact is that that’s not even in the realm of possibility for me.
I am not that glamorous or pulled-together.
And on the rare occasion when, by some twist of fate, I am, someone – be they infant or canine – tends to immediately punish me for my pulled-togetherness by vomiting on me or eating my hair.
But, you know, I think it’s OK – even, maybe, valuable – to say “Here’s an outfit that I really like, but oops, I totally forgot to shave my kneecaps and my manicure is chipped and the exposure sucks because my son woke up before I was able to adjust the settings (not that I really know how to adjust them anyhow, but I could at least pretend to try).”
Because what is fashion, anyway, if not a way to help you traverse the disasters of life with a little extra confidence and joy?
The thing about those beautiful fashion blogs out there is that while I love to look at them the same way I love to look at, say, In Style, they bear no resemblance whatsoever to anything I recognize from my own life. Which makes total sense, because I know a lot of these girls personally from blogger events and such, and their lives bear as little resemblance to mine as their photos do. I mean, these girls are really cool. I’m not being facetious: we’ll be at an event and it’ll be winding to a close and I’ll be all, yawn yawn, time for bed, and they’re just heading out to some very spectacular club or restaurant wearing things like hats and harem pants. Oh yeah, and they’re twenty years old.
That doesn’t make these blogs irrelevant to me – not at all, they’re fun and are great for inspiration – but over time I’ve come to realize that there’s room for both styles; one doesn’t invalidate the other. One isn’t “fashion” while the other is “not”; it’s not even that one is “fantasy” while the other is “real”. Both are real, and both have their place.
But while I love to look at fashion bloggers’ beautiful pictures, the fact is that it’s lives and looks like Jaclyn’s that I recognize, and hers are the photos that I want to see most of all…because I can create those outfits without stopping into Barney’s on the way home from my trip to St. Barth’s. And that’s cool.
More than cool…
it’s fun. Exciting. Inspiring.
It’s why I read blogs in the first place.
In photos, as in life, it’s a pretty great deal to just do what makes sense to you, and do it as best as you possibly can…and then let it go.