A shot of my lovely friend from our off-the-cuff collaboration yesterday

You may have noticed that when Francesca and I get together, we frequently do little photo shoots. Not for any especially good reason; just because we enjoy them – putting together a concept, finding a location, picking the right time of day for the lighting effect we’re after. I enjoy the whole process; unlike creating photos for this site, our shoots in no way feel like “work.” You may also have noticed that over the years, I have appeared in these shoots – or any shoots, for that matter – less, and less, and less.

I wonder sometimes whether it’s from insecurity – and of course it is, I suppose, more than I’d like to admit – but it’s also that my interests with regards to photography, and “aesthetics” more generally, have undergone a fairly dramatic shift these past few years.

I’ve written before about the weird little internal what-am-I-doing-with-my-life struggle I had a few years ago, when my management essentially said to me “Become a photographer. And a model. Right. Now.” A “consistent and appealing aesthetic,” they said, was key to my brand, and therefore key to my ability to maintain relevance in the industry. And I tried. I did!

…I just wasn’t super good at it.

My managers, by the way, were right in a business sense – witness the fact that DKNY is no longer exactly clamoring to hire me to design capsule collections, haha – but they were also trying to point my career – and me – in a direction that it simply wasn’t ever going to be able to go.

I am not a model. I enjoy being in front of the camera in some situations – hosting shows, for example, which feels more like play than perfection – and will pull it together for some nice pics for a client post or some such…but when it comes to “maintaining a consistent, on-brand aesthetic”?

I think my “brand,” if I have one at all, is pretty damn inconsistent, and oftentimes not very pretty at all.

And that is okay. Of course it is. But having spent years laser-focused on *my aesthetic* – all that panic to be whatever my managers told me to be so that I’d be able to keep the machine clicking along through massive industry shifts that moved the needle far, far away from the place where I’d started – I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy the process of just…creating. Art for art’s sake.

You know, I used to draw all the time; I have notebook upon notebook full of sketches dating all the way back to childhood. I used to take a set of watercolors to the park and paint the people sitting on the benches; tote my camera around just in case I saw something beautiful, and wanted to hold onto it.

I’m realizing, I suppose,  that this is something I want to bring back into my life: Just a little bit of art. For no other reason that the fact that it feels good.

…Aren’t I fortunate that I have a muse?

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P.S. If you’re curious what I was wearing while Francesca floated around like an ethereal angel…

Here you go.

On. Fucking. Brand ifIdosaysomyself.

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