Struggles, Success and Perspective

opinion

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Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue

I think one of the key things to being happy and okay with yourself is learning to come to terms with failure, and almost embrace it. By now I realise that  everybody has to fail at things in order to become successful, it’s just how it goes. There are countless examples of this, like the fact that JK Rowling’s first book was rejected by 12 publishers, or that one of Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything” or even that Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting whilst he was alive! It is the struggle of doing something creative, and quite often you don’t get recognised from the word go or even for a long time. Creative work is subjective and not everybody is going to like what you do.

Now we have the internet we can choose to show people our best bits and our biggest successes, displaying them and sharing them with whoever we want. Unfortunately sharing work has backfired on me in the past, the internet gives people something to hide behind so they can therefore be as mean as they want without the same consequences it would have in the outside world. I think you have to understand that whenever you show your work online you are taking the risk of criticism and unwanted comments, but you just have to hope that the people who look at it are kind enough not to say anything that isn’t constructive.

Being successful is harder these days. Most of the best work in the creative industries lies in London, and not all of us can afford to up and leave to London which is regarded as THE MOST EXPENSIVE place to live in in the world according to The Telegraph. Most of the internships are in London, which means working for free or generally low pay in a really expensive city, so you can either live there or travel there everyday, working out as about the same cost. Your other option is to wait it out in your own city and look for jobs there, save up some money and eventually move to London where you’ll probably be extremely poor for a good few years.

With these options becoming less and less appealling more people are deciding to take it upon themselves and start up their own businesses. This seems like an ideal job, doing what you love and working for yourself! Where do I sign up? The problem is you need money to start up your own business otherwise the road is slow. I’ve just come out of uni with a huge debt and a massive overdraft, who wants to lend me some more money? I have been told there are people that will, but in all honesty I don’t really want to put myself in anymore debt at the moment. I want to earn money to get myself out of the debt I’m already in.

So the internet becomes a very valuable tool for people like me, who want to get their work out there and want to create opportunities for themselves. It is hard at the moment, I won’t lie, I feel like there is so much competition out there I wonder how will I ever get to where I want to be. However, when I hear about these successful people’s failure stories it gives me hope. So in the end it’s not only other peoples successes that inspire me but also their failures, which is why it’s so important to embrace your own failures. Nobody gets to where they want to be without hitting a few or a lot of hurdles on the way. Cliche I know.

Things might be hard now but I know from experience that you do get something back in the end. All I know is that I have never quit anything, even though I have wanted to so badly (*cough* uni *cough*) because I know it will end eventually and life is just too short to pass up things you know will help you in the end. Sometimes I feel like I’ve really pushed myself to do something and I’m really proud of it but then I get nothing back. I’m not going to get a gold star every time I do something that requires effort anymore, I just have to have a good perspective on life and not let my failures make me bitter but instead a better person. There is always going to be somebody worse off than you and everybody has things that make them feel like shit, even bloody Beyonce who is much much better off than me (so much). That’s the kind of perspective I mean.

“Everyone is fighting their own battles, try not to be a ****” say’s the internet.

I mean to say this not just to myself but to anybody else feeling the pinch of life at the moment. I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life, I just thought I would post something that I’m feeling at the moment and maybe it can help other people as well.

This is my favourite song right now. They were the first band we saw at Glastonbury, and now I can’t stop listening to them.

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How it feels to be 24

My photography, opinion

I guess as you get older time really does go faster. Every week seems to go by like a day used to go by when I was a child. When I was younger days would last forever, like Christmas eve, the day before your birthday or those days you had nothing to do and it was raining outside. Now a day is like an hour, and a week a day, a month a week… so on. Am I the only one feeling this? Time seems to be so fast, say you remember going out with your friends a few days ago but then your like…. NO that was like two weeks ago????? I wished my time away when I was at school, I literally couldn’t wait for it to end, but now I feel like I never want my twenties to end. Not necessarily because I’m having such an awesome time (it has its moments) just because I know I’m going to miss it when it’s gone. However, I wouldn’t say I miss school… at all.

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Highlights of my instagram from the last month or so…

I like Instagram because I love taking photo’s and looking back at them. It’s a never ending photo album, a public one obviously. I do often think what will it be like when we’re older and we show our photos to friends and family… and they’re all on facebook? I do have physical photo albums but I haven’t updated them in years. I miss having ‘physical’ photographs and being able to display them nicely. Sure you can print them out, but it is a bit of a hassle and people just don’t really do it do they? Or maybe they do and I should do it more.

Here are some photographs I took in Church Stretton in the West Midlands…

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Thanks for reading

x

 

A feminists guide to feminism

opinion

I was watching University Challenge the other night. I occasionally watch it because 1) I genuinely find it fascinating how clever the contestants are and 2) Once in a blue moon I might know one of the answers and that makes me feel pretty good. The subject of famous feminists came up for one of the teams and non of them seemed to have a clue about any of it apart from the question about Germaine Greer. I don’t expect everyone to have extensive knowledge of feminism but I do think this pointed out that maybe it’s not a subject a lot of people (even academics) seem to have much knowledge of. Feminism is a really important movement in history, without it the world would be completely different right now. Sometimes it seems like we’ve even taken a step back.

David Cameron doesn’t seem to have a clue what the word feminism even means. Last year he was asked by Red magazine if he himself was a feminist. Cameron replied “I don’t know what I’d call myself … it’s up to others to attach labels. But I believe men and women should be treated equally.” Right. Even Wikipedia seems to have a better understanding of what feminism means. The opening line reads-

Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.[1][2] This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.”

It’s not ideal to quote Wikipedia but I’m just trying to point out it should have been a pretty straight forward answer. He later back tracked and told Channel 4 news what he should have actually said was “…if that means equal rights for women, then yes. If that is what you mean by feminist, then yes, I am a feminist.” What else would it mean? Did he think we meant something else?

“David Cameron, do you believe women are better than men?”

“David Cameron, have you ever burnt a bra before?”

Oh and by the way the Oxford Dictionary simply states feminism is – “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

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David Cameron

It’s obvious Cameron was worried what the public would think of him. Because most people believe that feminism means something else entirely. Everyone seems to have their own weird definition of the word feminism, all you have to do is read the truely bizarre comments that come underneath every article ever written about feminism on the internet. The definition should not be up for debate, and if our own prime minister is having trouble calling himself a feminist I think that’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

Nobody wants to be defined as a feminist, it’s not cool and it’s been made into a negative term instead of a positive term. Can I just address this interesting comment I’ve found on here http://www.varsity.co.uk/comment/6836

“Feminism is ridiculous. Feminism is not about ‘equality’ anymore than Beatles fanaticism is about peace. Feminism is the belief that women are and have been throughout history, systematically oppressed by men. Men do not largely subscribe to this belief because, in case you haven’t noticed or just don’t care, men endure more violence than women. Just because you want to make the world happy doesn’t mean any old lie will do for the greater good.”

Okay…. but don’t men endure more violence than women because they are violent towards each other most of the time? If you’re talking about war, women weren’t allowed to fight in the same positions as men and still aren’t. I read an article in Glamour written by Dawn O’Porter recently, and she used this statistic-

” Violence against women is responsible for more deaths and disability in women aged 15-44 globally than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined”

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Dawn O’Porter

The same statistic is also quoted in http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/women_insecure_world.pdf

I actually cannot believe how much we are still battling with this. We are a 1st world country and barely any of us even know what the word feminism means let alone think it’s important anymore. There is always something more important than feminism right?

Nick Oliveri at The Fleece, Bristol

Music, My photography, opinion

So I’ve been wondering recently whether or not to use a watermark for my photographs. You often come across pictures on the net with a photographers logo on them, whether they’re in a corner somewhere or smack bang in the middle, and a lot of them time they look really ugly. I don’t want to use one because I am paranoid everyone wants to steal my work, but that is always a possibility when you put your work online. As somebody that is currently unemployed I especially don’t want anyone using my images for things that I could be getting paid for without me knowing. Watermarking is also great for promotional reasons, if you put your name on an image people can easily trace who the photographer is if they like the photo. After some helpful advice on Facebook I’ve decided to use a small watermark. It’s only very tiny compared to a lot of these marks, because I really don’t want it to detract from the actually photograph.

These are the images I took at Nick Oliveri’s acoustic set at The Fleece in Bristol. What an amazing gig!

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Thanks for reading! I hope to be doing much more live music photography now 🙂

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Why do we still think it’s okay to advertise fashion like this?

Fashion, opinion

Fashion is well known for its tendency to be controversial. Being controversial is great, its interesting and people love to be shocked, within reason. People love to think of art as having no boundaries and being completely free, but (sometimes) are these just excuses used to express things that in any other circumstance we just wouldn’t think was okay?

Sisley likes to "push the envelope" with their ads.

Sisley fashion campaign. ‘No time to run’….. sexy or creepy?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/copyranter/violence-against-women-in-fashion-continues-unabated?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffered080&utm_medium=facebook

I read a post on Buzzfeed this week listing a huge number of fashion campaigns that were heavily themed around violence towards women, including rape themes. Violence occurs in so much of the media, films and games for example. This is a different kind of violence though, these people are advertising clothes… to women mostly. I fail to see how this is just artistic expression especially when this idea has been done to the death and I’m afraid isn’t shocking or original. The only thing that’s shocking is that these fashion companies think this is a perfectly okay concept to go with in the 21st century. Why would you use something as serious and sick as rape to advertise something that is meant to be desirable and luxurious? This is where I have a real problem with the fashion industry.

-“The high-fashion world in general loves to think of itself as contrarian, élite, and boldly at odds with the tastes and mores of the wider public. It likes to think that it, in fact, leads those tastes. But much of the imagery the fashion industry uses to communicate its messages at best echoes and at worst reinforces some of the wider culture’s most negative ideas about women and girls. As we all know thanks to Joan Didion, “it is possible for people to be the unconscious instruments of values they would strenuously reject on a conscious level.” Fashion, in all its contradictions, is great evidence of that.”- Jenna Sauers

 http://jezebel.com/5916650/fashions-ongoing-violence-against-women/

Why is fashion reinforcing such negative ideas of women, when it is advertising to women? I understand there is a certain sexiness about violence and everyone has their thing they like, but this is commercial advertising. And really, what women finds rape sexy? Seems like it’s just another way the media can obsess over its weird fantasies about women. All these campaigns do is promote violence against women, making it less of an issue in many peoples eyes.

What exactly are these ad campaigns meant to be saying – ‘Look at this image, this women has been beaten up/raped but at least she looks good in our new A/W collection’?

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This hair salon advertisement claims to be ‘a work of art’ and the people who made it said that it brings the domestic violence issue to light. A fashion campaign promoting its clothing/hair salon to make lots and lots of money for itself doesn’t seem like the best way to help victims of domestic abuse. It seems like a cheap shock tactic aiming to make as much money as possible.

I love fashion, and have done for most of my life but there are so many issues regarding the industry. This stuff isn’t healthy for anyone.

Thanks for reading.

x

Pixie Geldof in this months Elle

Fashion, Fashion photography, opinion

Elle UK magazine is probably my favourite fashion magazine. I love the photography and styling, plus the written pieces are always interesting, although I feel like they have stopped doing as many. I really loved the ‘Elle memoir’ pieces. Please don’t lose them Elle!

This months cover star is Pixie Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof and sister of Peaches Geldof. I do like Pixie’s style and I think she comes across quite well in interviews. Before reading the interview this month I admit I had struggled to pin point what her actual job is, and well lets face it, she has had a lot of opportunity come her way due to being a Geldof. However, she has this band now called Violet and I listened to one of her songs and its not awful. I quite like it.

The video was directed by Alasdair McLellan, a photographer I really love. Here are my faves from the Elle UK piece.

Dress by Ashley Williams (Pixies friend)

Dress by Erdem, Photographs by David Vasiljevic

Here are some pics of Pixies best style moments….

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WARNING: This post contains feminist views

Fashion, opinion

Quite a few months ago I did a post on androgyny and feminism, as I was doing a project involving those subjects at university. I’d like to come back to feminism in this post.

It seems like every other day I read something online, without actively seeking it, that reinforces the idea that there are still many issues concerning the equality of men and women today. There are still so many absurd things written online about feminism and women constantly, it feels like we are taking one giant step backwards in time. As I’m writing this I’m thinking, how many people will be really irritated by what I’m saying? When I say that, I am talking about men and women, because it is not just some  men who have problems with feminism, it’s  some women as well. Feminism is not some hateful war against men, it’s not about shaming men so that women can feel superior, it’s a war against inequality.

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It makes me so angry when I read comments like this “At first feminism was about becoming equal, now it is about being superior.” No, what feminism is about never changed, the definition of feminism is always going to be the same. Sure, there are always people within organisations and beliefs, that take things to the extreme, but that doesn’t mean the fundamental definition of the word feminism has changed. Just like religion, you get extremist’s, but that doesn’t define the religion does it? The question I ask is, what has happened in the world of feminism that makes people think it’s about being superior? What have women ever asked for that men don’t already have or have more of?

Some people will say I’m just angry and need something to complain about. Women don’t want to be feminists, it’s a dirty word to most people. So I have the vote now, I should shut up and be happy with what I’m given, this is the kind of attitude I am met with all the time. Let me give you some examples as to why I think we are still not equal.

Robin Thicke. That really great song with the really great music video of all the topless women. Yes women can be topless if they want, but don’t you see that women are constantly sexualised by the media all the time? This being in a completely different and more pornographic way than men are? That video and song itself I am not particularly outraged by, it’s all of these videos and ideals of women. How many music videos have topless or scantily clad women in them? How many music videos have the same but with men instead? Some? You try telling me that it’s equal, that there are just as many music videos with men as the sexual objects, show me the evidence! In the media, women are constantly perceived as sex objects. It’s all about how women look, and they are constantly criticised for not looking the way we want them to, or behaving the way we want them to.

For example, look at all the talent show contests on TV. Ok, now look at the judges. X factor’s judges last year consisted of  Gary Barlow, Louie Walsh, Tulisa and Nicole. They rarely put a women on the judges panel who isn’t extremely attractive and under 40, with the exception of Sharon Osborne. Britain’s got Talent has David Walliams, Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden? They always have to have their female ‘eye candy’ but the men can be as old and as plain looking as ever. What about the BBC ousting Arlene Phillips in favour of younger judge Alesha Dixon… and yet Bruce Forsyth will be allowed to present that show till he’s dead!

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” The celebrity machine lays so much pressure on their young starlets to be every mans ‘ideal women’ ” 

http://www.live-magazine.co.uk/2013/06/was-it-sexism-that-brought-tulisa-down/

One of the comments on that article has a very good point. Charlie Sheen is a notorious drug user and gets his own TV show. Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston take drugs and they are vilified by the media as their careers come crashing down very publicly.

Why are women vilified by society constantly? The media constantly puts women on pedestals, and if they don’t abide to the rules they will be publicly humiliated. You may feel like you have equal rights to men but the reality is in some cases you don’t.  Of course women want to feel sexy and attractive, it is empowering, but it’s not empowering if your trying to live up to an ideal that others want you to. That program ‘ Snog Marry avoid’ has a majority of female guests on there that are trying to do just that- live up to societies ideal. Feminism is not a hard concept, people just like to complicate it because it scares them.

Thanks for reading!

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