Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reality versus creativity in fashion blogging

 Jacket: Ralph Lauren; Blouse: vintage, thrifted; Jeans: Old Navy; 
Shoes: Ipanema, thrifted; Skeleton key necklace: Minx, vintage.

So Franca's thoughtful post on the appearance of reality in fashion blogging got me thinking about how things appear on this blog and why I photograph the things I do. When I started blogging 2 1/2 years ago, this blog was simply a creative outlet for myself while I was entering the professional world, and after college, it was a way for me to be part of a community when my real-life friends scattered across the country after graduation. For the hard-nosed journalist I was trained to be, this personal writing/photography was a whole new world for me, and I continue to like being part of it.

But when I started to really get into blogging, things changed. The locations had to be better. The clothes, more fantastical and more vintage-y. The poses, more pose-y. And so on. And with every new opportunity, all sorts of ethical and philosophical questions began to emerge about how I framed every post on this blog: Does it matter whether I mention that this outfit happened yesterday, two days before, or that I only wore it for 20 minutes last week? How much of my private life should I even mention? Do I show other aspects of my life, like being with my husband, meeting with my friends or doing this or that? Should I mention that it is quite ridiculous to hike in tall shoes through the woods to take these photos? 

Or would that break the spell of what I'm trying to do?

And the thing is, I wasn't sure what I was trying to do anymore -- whether it was to depict my reality, my life, as it really was -- or how I wanted all of my readers to perceive it. But I've discovered that by trying to photograph everything, I'm already skewing reality because I'm framing what I want you to see, and not how the big picture really is. Would I take these photos if I didn't want to put them on the blog? Probably not. Would I visit this park on my own if I wasn't doing blog photography? Maybe not. Do I always look this pensive in real life? No. Does this become some kind of twisted reality because I put it here for the world to see? Maybe, yes.

The thing is, I am not really sure if there is a right or wrong way to blog, and obviously, there are good and bad elements of trying depict reality and trying to be creative about it. As I've gotten more into photography, I've realized how much I unintentionally stage what I wore or did for these blog posts, without actually disclosing that I did so. And I think in order to really grow as a person creatively, it might be better for me to try to not do so many outfit-of-the-day posts, because it can be mentally exhausting, and really focus on what I can do creatively. Which may mean more fantastical outfits and locations, because I find all that fun. But I think I'll find better ways to be open about how I set up shots, why I chose this outfit or that background, and all of those technical aspects.

This might have been the most long-winded way of saying that I only wore this outfit for an hour because it was way too cold.

Anyways, I am curious: What is important to you when you blog -- depicting reality or a sense of creativity, or both? Is authenticity an important factor when you read a blog?



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