Brief Thoughts on the Toxic State of Blogging and the Underlying Resilience of Self-timer shots
if you've followed me and my work for a while, you've probably noticed that most of my outfit pictures tend to be shot in the same spot and look very similar. this is also true for some other bloggers in the sustainable and ethical space. i used to think the reason behind this would be apparent to all, but i've realized this to not be the case based on recent conversations (especially with friends who are not into sustainable fashion.)
understanding the motivations behind this requires a slight digression into the prevalent toxic state of blogging. in its present manifestation, blogging is a systematically oppressive industry for a creative to survive in. i say this because, blogging is one of the few creative pursuits where your entire life's output is expected to be accessible by the entire world for free. we would never ask a photographer to share full and complete access to their entire life's work online? imagine asking a musician to make their entire discography available online for free. we'd be laughed at. yet, the opposite is true for bloggers. ask people to pay to read your blog and you will be looked at like a mad-man. as if this wasn't bad enough, the most popular monetizing method demands a combination of the following - 1) several posts published on your blog each week and 2) a readership of 100k or more 3) affiliate and brand partnerships that actually pay you.
all of this translates into low or zero income for bloggers. interestingly, despite low or zero income, costs are not necessarily low. buying a domain costs money. so does hosting. so does buying clothes (because accepting free clothes is tricky if you want to maintain the authenticity of your content and not have it be driven by the agenda of the brand that sent you that free stuff.) most importantly, capturing the images you see on a blog need money too; either in terms of the cost of equipment purchased or in terms of the cost of hiring and paying a photographer.
so the next time you see a picture of me (or someone else) in front of a white wall and some plants; understand that the industry in which i operate is a toxic one to survive in. understand that despite all odds, i am working tirelessly to nurture and foster my voice in a manner that is authentic to my creative inclinations and sensibilities. understand that in the present scheme of things, this translates into foregoing whatever rare opportunities that might come my way to make money from this pursuit. understand that all of this put together requires me to shoot my images because i refuse to treat another creative how i have been treated. i do not want to have someone shoot my images for free. in other words - i have to shoot my own images. and since i live in an urban setting, my living room is the least awkward and most consistent location (from a light and movement perspective.)
to me, someone posting images in front of a white wall exhibits the sheer resilience within them to keep expressing and creating and their mindfulness to not oppress other creatives in the same capacity that they have been in the process.