#modelmonday: Communicating with Models – #1 Finding the right model: How and where?

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#modelmonday: Communicating with Models

Every now and then, especially when I’m booked on workshops, I get frequently asked where to find models and how to approach them.
So, I thought it might be a good thing to write a blog post about this topic.

As this topic is quite broad and long blog posts don’t get read as much, I’m going to split the topic into several sections.
* finding models – how and where?
* approaching them / written communication
* behaving on set
* communicating after the shoot

Today, I’m trying to keep it short and simple concerning the first two points.

Well, times have changed and the formerly well frequented online platforms like model-kartei and modelmayhem are less and less frequented and experienced a fair drop in quality of the work portrayed there.
Which is also why several of the great ones that used to present their work on these platforms now deleted their accounts. Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping some pictures up there and checking now and then for some good job offers or for interesting workshops, model sharings, and of course models from your region for example.
Before the decrease, these platforms where a good option to pursue your hobby or passion or even job.
Now, today Facebook and Instagram are more and more present and I consider it fair to say that basically if you’re not present on these platforms, you rarely exist on the internet.
Nowadays only few people go and search for websites if they search for a photographer, respectively a model. (Unless your SEO content is of such a major quality that your website is one of the first three ones popping up when I google “photographer in [insert area]” for example.
I know that especially certain generations have a critical opinion towards social media and that even having a Facebook account is a nuisance to them. And by the way, I completely understand that!
But, I think it’s just fair to say that you should consider the option.

Now, wherever you search, here some general points:
Instead of searching directly for models, here’s another option: Find photographers whose style you like and click through their portfolio. Mostly the models are linked (as they should be, credit to those who deserve it, huh) and then you can check out their portfolio and see whether it matches your wishes and needs. If you’re unsure whether they are the right choice and whether they have the right work ethic, check for their rating or even ask one of the photographers that worked with them.
Read their sedcard text!!! Normally, if not totally devoured by nowaday’s crippled communication, the models show all important information, like range of work (fashion, portrait, nude, etc.), availability (full-time job or student), prices, special features (freckles, tattoos, etc.), impairments (allergies, short sightedness, etc.), measurements, skills (needs a MUA or can do make-up themselves) and so forth in their profile text.
Make really sure that your interest in working with this model is genuine, otherwise you do not only waste their, but mostly your own time as well.
Then write them a message in which you already include parts of the concept you’d like to produce with them.
If possible, have a mood board ready and/or save and like the pictures of the chosen model that you really appreciate and like.
Include pictures of the styling you’d like from their portfolio or in your mood board or if you offer the option of getting the desired clothes, tell them. (nothing more annoying than getting a request for a bridal shoot and three messages into the convo you mention that the model should bring their own wedding dress – which not every model possesses, just saying –)
Let them know, if they need make-up skills or if you provide a make-up artist.
Most importantly: State within the first three sentences if it’s a TFP or a paid shoot!
Make it easy for both you and communicate clearly. No, you don’t have to write a novel, bullet points are fine, but brief them correctly, it saves a lot of time on both sides.
And respect your potential model. If the box for “nude” is not ticked… guess what? It means they don’t do nude shoots!
(I know it sounds obvious, but believe me, you can’t imagine how many people don’t seem to pay attention to the basic info on the sedcard.)

If you visit workshops, ask the photographer who is giving the workshop whether they can recommend models.

If you are a beginner and you want to focus on technical stuff, let me give you an advice: Don’t shoot with a beginner model.
Be willing to pay! Pay for an advanced and experienced model who knows how to act in front of the cam, so you can focus on light, lens, aperture, ISO and all the other things you need to focus on.
You save yourself a lot of energy with that, because it can put pressure on you, if the model doesn’t know what to do and asks “like this?”, “should I do this?”, etc. because they feel just as insecure as you do. (same goes the other way round, but I already talked about that in another blogpost on building a portfolio)

So, once again, in a nutshell:
* search on model/photography platforms
* search on social media
* scroll through other photographers’ profiles and check out their models
* ask the leading photographer at a workshop for recommended models

* read the model’s sedcard text and check their portfolio and their range of work
* communicate your concepts and ideas clearly
* put all relevant information in your message
* state if it’s a TFP or paid shoot
* state what you provide and what they should bring
* as a beginner: be willing to pay for an experienced model

I hope my ideas provided some impulses and inspiration for you.
Let me know what you think or if you have ideas that I missed, shoot me a message.

For the sake of self-advertising:
Yes, you can book me as a model, if you wish to work with me 😉
Just scroll through my portfolio and hop over to the contact section and send me a message.

So long, my dears.

xx

#socialsaturday: Superficial Society

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#socialsaturday: Superficial Society

Hey my dears,

actually the first idea for a title was “why do we desire that people desire what we desire?”, but then I thought it might be too long. And maybe too confusing.
But seriously, why do we do that?
Okay, okay, I see, I need to put some structure in here, otherwise we will get lost in a hundred topics.
So, give me a sec. And a sip of coffee.

Okay, back to the topic.
What distinguishes us as humans from animals?
I mean despite regular hair cuts, clothes and make-up and hot baths instead of licking ourselves clean like a cat.
Well, philosophers would say reason and language. Homo logos, you know. Which also implies a correlation between language and divine logic or sense.
Can we just wait here a second.
Reason. Well, I don’t know about you, but recently I’ve seen people doing more things that – at least for me – don’t fall under the category of reasonable than I could put in one blog post without boring you.
I mean, take simple things like throwing trash onto the street while walking when the bin is just 2 freaking meters away from you. Does that sound reasonable?
Or pushing your pram into the bus in such a way that no one can get from the front to the end while the bus driver is yelling that everybody should move further to the back and then you shout at the people who kindly ask you if there was a chance they might pass by. Does that sound reasonable?
Other way round, going to the gym to train your biceps so that every girl would fall for your trained body straight away and wants to touch it, but then being at the train station and watching a mother with a toddler and a pram and not helping her get that pretty heavy thing up the stairs, does that sound reasonable?
I think you get what I’m aiming at, but believe me, there are hundreds of millions of examples where I think doubting reason within people is kind of a daily sport.
(Btw: this doesn’t exclude myself, countless times that I kind of watch myself and then wonder “Well, Gina, was that reasonable? Is there any logical thinking left in your head or is it just on top of your neck to look good on a portrait, sheesh, girl, get your shit together!”)

Language. First, let us ask one simple, but very important question: What’s it good for?
Is it just for me to name things and so that I can define things that pop up in my head and explain them to myself?
The keyword is communication. And this means (at least according to various sources I looked up for this post) the sending, receiving and exchanging of information (or things).
But it’s about sending and receiving. Normally this includes two or more people, doesn’t it?
(Don’t judge people, who use this human tool also to communicate with themselves, it’s just you explaining your own thoughts to yourself, which I consider pretty fine, don’t worry.)
So, why and when did communication turn into one interlocutor using the other one as a stage to put their own life narration into the spotlight?
I mean.. where is the exchange?
Believe me, my dears, I commute too often with public transport and even one time forgetting your earphones makes you notice too many things around you. But on the other hand, it’s an impulse for blog posts, huh?
So, please, play this game the next time you’re sitting somewhere and listen to people talking. And I mean, for a while.
Can you find exchange? Like real exchange? Or is it rather everybody just talking about themselves and then it’s the other one’s turn?
Just observe.

Now for the desire part.
Reason and language flow into it, if you are wondering now why I talked about that before.
So, let’s take some pretty common conversation, okay?

Situation 1: Two people graduated from high school.
A: And what are you going to study?
B: I’m not going to study.
A: What?!
B: I want to do an apprenticeship.
A: Ah.

Situation 2: A student (B) living from a part-time job and a credit and someone being at the end of their apprenticeship (A) and already earning “real” money are talking.
A: And when are you going to move out from your parents’ house?
B: Well, actually I’m aiming for higher education and want to do another degree once I finished the first one.
A: So, you don’t want to move out until you’re what? 28?

Situation 3: An engaged or married woman in the process of family planning (A) and a woman focussed on her career (B) are talking.
A: And when are you going to marry?
B: Hm?
A: When are you going to marry and have children?
B: Um, dunno?!
A: Well, darling, we all don’t get younger, do we?

Why is it that we seem to desire that other people desire what we desire?
And this assumption wouldn’t even be the worst thing. The worst thing is the next step that oh so frequently follows:
Judgement.
As if our life narration was the only valid one.

If your greatest desire is to study and you have the privilege of getting a chance to do it, then value it!
There are people who would love to, but that don’t have access to education, let alone higher education.
And if your friend decides that studying isn’t their cup of tea, then congratulate them on their choice and wish them all the best.

If what you define as a desirable life includes moving out as early as possible and having a space of your own and you get the chance to get it, value it!
Maybe your studying friend would love to have a place of their own, too, but they had to decide about their priorities: flat or next degree.
Who are you to tell them they made the wrong choice just because your choice would have been different?

If your vision of a desirable life necessarily includes getting married and having children, and you found the right partner and you were physically able to give birth to healthy children, then guess what, value it!
And if you found fulfilment in that and you think “wow, now I truly know what I’m here for!” than that’s great. But who are you to tell another woman that unless she has children she doesn’t know her purpose here on earth? Isn’t that a bit harsh?
And even if she doesn’t want to, or didn’t find the person with whom she’d love to, who are you to judge someone else’s priority list?

Let me tell you something:
We will all be judged one day. But that’s not our job, believe me.
Who are we to tell other people which desire and life narration is valid and which is not?
And when did we get so presumptuous and arrogant to assume that our choices are the only right ones?
When did we forget to stay open and listen and see the world from different angles?
When did we forget to communicate?

And now for reasonable communication:
Why don’t we listen? Why do we act our lives out on a virtual and now even analogue stage as if it was the best play ever written and any other narration was invalid and less worthy?
Can we maybe change the narration?

How about

Situation 1
A: Are you going to study or do you want to do an apprenticeship?

Situation 2:
A: What are your plans and desires for the future?

Situation 3:
A: Do you want to marry and have children one day?

On a grammatical level, most yes-or-no-questions or questions without suggesting an answer, offer more space for real communication.
Be open, be interested, listen. And for the sake of an open and less superficial society: Don’t judge!
Please.

Can we maybe start asking really cool and interesting questions again?
Like
How are you?
What makes you happy?
What’s your favourite dish?

I could go on writing about this subject, but I’ll leave it at that. For now.
As always, feel free to comment here, share your opinion with me via email or Facebook or Instagram.

So long, my dears.

xxx
Gina.

#freelancefriday: Myths and Prejudices

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#freelancefriday: Myths and Prejudices

Hey my dears,

today for something different.
First, I told you I prepared something to make up for my belated #writerswednesday post and secondly, I thought this idea was a good one.
As I talked to other creatives and also listened to the German podcast Creative Kraut* from a good friend of mine, this idea popped up in my mind and stayed there, so I thought it might be interesting for you to read a little bit about the life of a freelancer.
Why am I entitled to speak about these things? Well, mostly because I have been working as a freelancer for 6 years now, officially, woop woop.
Six years?! Yep, instead of searching for a part time student job, I decided to build up my freelance business beside my studies.
Sounds so cool, right? Haha, well, if I did my calculation right, there were many months in which working a part time student job would have been wayyyy more lucrative 😀
But, I learned a lot along the way and it brought me where I am today.

And since nowadays on all the platforms setting up your own business and leaving your corporate job and do what you love is so intensively and extensively promoted, I thought you might be interested in me sharing a part of my journey and thoughts upon it.
What do you think? Good idea or rather “hard liquor idea” (Schnapsidee is what we call it in German, don’t ask me why, probably because your ideas after consuming hard liquor might be quite, erm, weird?!)
So, let me know, if you’d like me to continue this series in the comments below or as usual on any other platform like Facebook or Instagram or even via email.

What I prepared for today is to do away with some of the myths and prejudices that are connected to the perception of freelance work.
I’ll post a statement, just like the ones I have heard or read in the eyes of my interlocutors, and then touch upon them.
Of course, as always, the answers derive from my own opinion and experience and are not to be generalised.

Little disclaimer: I write from the perspective and experience of a freelancer working and living in Germany. Of course, certain regulations and have-to’s might differ in your very own country. I would love to hear about freelance work in other countries, so please feel free to share your experience!

So, let’s start with the myths & prejudices:

1. Oh, wow, so you don’t have to work 9 to 5 and can schedule your work as you please!

Well, it depends on the job you got booked for.
If you’re booked for a coaching session on a regular basis or giving courses, of course you have to show up when it’s supposed to take place, huh?
But sure, preparing and the work afterwards you could do when your time allows, as long as you are prepared for the next session.
If it’s a job with a deadline but no schedule in between, it might seem as if you could sleep in and paint your nails all day and then just work one hour here and one hour there.
But let’s assume you have more than one project running at the same time (which by the way is not unusual, as it has something to do with money, too, but I’ll come to that in a minute) and then you have to be an effing master of time management to not lose track and guess what, my dears, often you end up working late and you don’t have a weekend and due to that it might also happen that you forget which day it is at all.

2. THAT is your rate per hour?! You’re earning a fortune!!

Phew, okay, breathe in, breathe out.
Yes, my hourly rate is higher than what you earn in your regular job if you take your monthly income and divide it by your working days and then hours.
True.
BUT: I don’t have a boss that pays a certain percentage or even half of my health insurance. I am my boss. Means I pay 100%.
Depending on the field you work in, you might be obliged to take a private insurance, as is often the case for freelancers in Germany.
Little note: we make a difference between freier Mitarbeiter and Freiberufler, which could be translated as free employee and freelancer, so the latter is mostly by definition a lawyer, architect or – like me – someone working in a creative field, like an author for example.
And private insurance is never cheap.
Furthermore, I don’t have paid vacation. Every day I don’t go to work is a day I don’t earn money.
I repeat: Every day that I don’t go to work is a day that I don’t earn money.
Let that sink in for a moment.
And yes, that means for many freelancers that they go to work although they are ill as a dog, because they simply can’t afford to be sick.
Additionally, I run on projects. Sometimes a project contract is as long as one year, sometimes it’s some months and sometimes it’s a short term thing, like editing a book within a week.
That my friends, means that I have to earn as much as possible in a short time span because in most cases, if you’re not lucky, you don’t have a following project already signed, so it might happen that you have to live on your savings for months or longer. (Note: Your fix costs are still gonna be booked from your bank account, because they don’t give an eff whether you have income or not)
That, connected to what I said before, leads to many freelancers taking nearly every option for a job, even many short term ones, to ensure they have enough savings if the next project start is delayed.
And that in turn makes many freelancers end up having no weekend at all but working their butts off in order to gain a feeling of pseudo-security.
And now, my dears, imagine that nearly 80% (number is estimated, no proof) of the people interested in your services try to press your prices down and negotiate with you.
Try not to look desperate and to keep some self-confidence and self-worth remaining.

3. It’s really cool, you can choose your projects and your work is so diverse, it must be exciting!

Mh, yes and no.
Yes, it’s true, the work can be very diverse as you might be editing a cook book for one client, translate a website for a coach, go on trade fairs as a translator for cosmetics and support the relaunch of the virtual spaces of a shoe company.
Sure, it’s diverse. And that’s an absolute lovable trait to freelance work, to my mind.
But it also means, if all or some of the projects are running in parallel, that your brain needs to work quickly and to stay flexible enough to jump through three different topics within 12 hours and still deliver the best work it can. Or within a week you might have to change the writing style, switch your brain from one language to the other and stick to appointments and schedules.
So, yes, it is exciting and you get many insights into different fields of work and you can learn amazingly much!
(How many things I learned from editing texts about topics that voluntarily I would never have dived into as deep. And then suddenly you find yourself on a party talking about digitalisation, smart homes, finances and medicine, just because your brain remembered the pages you edited. haha)
So, yes, it is exciting, but it can also be very exhausting.
And on some days you just wish you had “a normal life”, come home at the same time of the day and then be free to do the things that need to be done (grocery shopping, household stuff) – because guess what, besides all the project and topic hopping, that needs to be done, too in a freelancer’s life – and then chill with a good book or your favourite movie.
But it would be a lie if I claimed that it’s not diverse or not exciting. Of course, not every project is a wow one, and even in projects you love there are days where you just don’t feel it.
But that’s definitely a trait of freelance work that I consider exciting.

So, so much for the myths.
Before people start arguing now, let me take a stand for myself:
1. I don’t mean to say that freelance work is shit because you don’t get paid vacay or because you have to work a lot and have to deal with a certain insecurity when it comes to projects. I don’t mean to complain about that, either, cause you could say “Well, that’s what you chose. Nobody forced you. You can still go and search for a regular job. It was your decision.” and I wouldn’t have any counter argument against that.
2. Neither do I mean to belittle regular jobs and praise freelance work or claim that freelance work is more stressful than a regular job. Heck, no! A friend of mine is a nurse and I know how much stress that means, and yes it’s a regular job including paid vacation and health insurance, etc., and I truly admire her and her colleagues for doing what they do. Just like I admire everyone getting up in the morning, whatever they work and giving it their best.
3. My main aim is to create awareness and to do away with some of the commonly spread misconceptions as I’d call them about freelance work. Sheesh, when you look onto social media it seems like everybody’s telling you to throw your regular job into a trash bin and follow your dream and do what you love.
What I’m aiming to say is: Please consider some points of freelance work before you throw anything into the bin, okay?
Just because you’re working as a freelancer and have different project options in diverse fields doesn’t mean that you live your dream, because as stated before, sometimes you just have to take the next best offer to pay the bills, you know.

I don’t mean to put any of the jobs, be it regular or freelance, on a pedestal and talk the other one down.
Understanding in both directions is what I’d like to create.

Let me know what you think.
Are you a freelancer and loving it?
Do you have a regular job and are playing with the idea to step into the freelance life? (if so, I hope my post didn’t make you hate the idea, that wasn’t my intention. If that’s what you wanna do, do it, I just say, inform yourself and do your research and do not dreamily trip into something and when you wake up you think “what have I done?!”)
Have you experienced both sides, and if so, which one do you prefer and why?

Let me know in the comments below.

So long, my dears

xxx
Gina.

 

 

 

 

 

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#writerswednesday: Pro vs. Passion

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#writerswednesday:Pro vs. Passion

Hey my dears,

it’s #writerswednesday again. Yes, I know I’m too late, but sorry, “real life” as the grown-ups call it, kept me busy.
But don’t worry, I’m planning on something as a compensation to make up for the delay.

So, what’s today’s topic?
We’re going to have a little chit chat about writing as a profession and writing as a passion.
Which, by the way, does not necessarily exclude one another.
But step by step.

So, let’s say you’re a writer. A passionate one. Maybe you’re a good one. Maybe even a great one.
Let us be honest, tendencies are quite high that you’re not writing for a living.
(If you are, please get in contact with me or comment on this post, I’d love to hear your opinion on all that’s gonna follow now.)

So, maybe you have tried to get your works into publishing houses or maybe you didn’t.
Well, which other options are there to work as a writer?
You could be an editor, so correcting other people’s texts, books, websites, dissertations and other academic texts.
Or you could work as a copy writer in an advertising agency or a marketing agency.
If you have profound journalistic knowledge, maybe you’re even working for a newspaper or magazine. As a writer. Or editor.
Or as something completely different, as it is quite often the case.
But let’s assume your work has something to do with writing, be it building headlines and capturing texts in order to market a product or be it reading and correcting books or other written works.

It was in Austin Kleon’s books Steal like an Artist* and Show your Work* that I was confronted with the idea that instead of aiming for a writing career there is a moment of bliss when your writing hasn’t been commercialised yet, because you can follow your passion and be as free as you want to. No expectations, no briefings, no deadlines, no customer that wants some particular text from you.
In that moment, years ago, when I read it, I was a bit taken aback by this utterance, but the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me what he meant.
A similar thing is what I experienced in my academic work, because as long as I could choose a topic and hold a presentation on it in a manner which was rather free, besides the design of the slides that was mandatory, I felt like doing exactly what I wanted to do. But once I was asked to write a term paper with all its framework and structure and requirements, I felt so under pressure and was so concentrated on making my academic work fit into the framework, that I actually didn’t pay as much attention to delivering the content in an understandable and logical manner. (I know there is a problem with this example, as presentation and written term paper are two different mediums, but let it just sit here for the sake of the argument, okay? thanks.)

Anyway, as long as your art is not commercialised (yet) you can do what ever you like as you’re not obliged to please a client.
Of course, you should keep your audience in mind and create content that they hopefully gonna love, but that’s not the same as someone yelling at you “THAT is what I paid you for?!”.
You get the idea, I guess.

So, does this now mean that as a professional you’re not passionate?
And vice versa: A passionate creative is not professional?

Well, I’d object both ideas.
But, I’d say the way in which you burn for your own projects differs from the passion you put into your professional work.
My professional services range from text creation to translations, editing and professional storytelling to writing texts for special occasions and I wouldn’t say that there is no passion whatsoever behind it. I love this kind of work!
But I have to admit, the process of creation oftentimes differs from a spontaneous poetic idea that you can’t write down quick enough before it slips through your fingers.

On the other hand, when concerned with my own creative projects, I do not lack a professional approach when it comes to organising a photo shooting, planning in advance or when preparing photo and text combinations.
For instance my Instagram account displays mostly my passionate creative projects and not my booked professional work. But I do plan and organise which post goes together with which picture, when to post it, etc., so I’d claim there is a professional approach towards it.
Admittedly, if I do not stick to the planned postings because I don’t feel like it and prefer another idea, of course, in this field I’m free and flexible to do as I please, which is not the case with a booked service.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t claim that profession and passion exclude each other.
But the emphasis might differ.

The question is:
Will you really lose your passion once your art becomes your profession?

I for my part, cannot give any hands-on advice on that, as my professional work and my passionate creativity revolve both around language and writing, but differ concerning the content and purpose.
But I know from a friend, who used to draw passionately, that once she had to draw for clients, she felt like losing the passion for what used to lighten up her days and meant fun and relaxation for her.
I’d claim there are often phases, whether it’s writer’s block or just being fed up with something you used to pursue passionately in your free time, but once it gets to the level that you can’t find any joy in it anymore and feel the urge to quit it all together, maybe reconsidering your choices and then adjust them, might help you not lose your passion.
For me personally, I think it is a bliss that everything I do is more or less connected by the red thread of language and text, but that professional and passionate work (because actually, it’s both work, though one might be paid and the other not or not in the same manner) differ content-wise.
If that is possible for you, maybe that’s an option for you, too.
I know others who would get distracted by having so many different projects running and who prefer to concentrate on one approach or method or type of work completely. (Which I can understand completely btw!)
And it’s not that I chose all my work to differ to this extent, but it just took its way in that direction for now and I see the positive in it.

Fortunately, I never got to a point where I considered giving up writing all together.
Giving up Instagram? Yes.
Deleting Facebook? Yes.
Stop blogging? Yes.
But writing itself and for itself? Never.

Whether that was now supported by the fact that my professional and passionate work differ or whether it’s just written into my bones and onto my heart, I can’t define.

What’s your opinion and/or experience with that?
Did you make your passion your profession and regret it afterwards?
Do you purposely not make your passion your profession?

Please share your thoughts, I’m eager to know.

So long, my dears

xxx
Gina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#modelmonday: The Carnival of Characters

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#modelmonday: The Carnival of Characters

Helau & Alaaf, my dears!

Well, if you don’t know what that means, probably you’re not from Germany and/or have never lived in areas where carnival a.k.a Fasching (in my area we call it Karneval) is celebrated.
No prob, it’s a great festivity before Lent, with a long tradition, where everybody dresses up as someone or something else and celebrates with parades and music (and a lot of booze).
It’s not comparable to the colourful carnival de Rio, obviously, as the weather mostly isn’t as spectacular, but many people across Germany get feverish for the 5th season, as it’s also called.
[if you want to know more about this tradition, which has its roots in Christianity, let me know or ask uncle Google or aunt Wiki :p ]

So, now, Gina, is modelling like a great carnival in front of the cam?
Do you feel like wearing a disguise or dressing up as someone else when you work as a model?

Well, for me personally, my work in front of the cam is not comparable to carnival.
Although I participated in photo projects in which I felt like wearing a disguise or rather like an actress playing a role and slipping into a different character.

dw-foto-art
justyhmakeup

But in my personal case, I have to say that modelling showed me rather more of my own facets than taking me away from my own character, I’d say.
I think, the fearful thoughts of a mother, when the kid says “Mum, I’m gonna become a model!” swirl around things like “Great, now they will get superficial, compare themselves constantly to other models, take their measurements three times a day and only eat cotton pads soaked with orange juice!”. Ergo: Panic!
And by no means do I intend to diminish or belittle these worries.
The age, in which many of the girls and boys start entering the model business, is a fragile one, one, in which the self-confidence and character is not yet as stable as to deal with the constant competition, the comparisons and the many rejections without taking it personally or connecting it to oneself and one’s body.
On the other hand, we could say that youngsters don’t have to enter the model biz for that, as peer dynamics and peer pressure do the same.
That’s what I know from my instagram-free youth. Nowadays the oh so social media just adds to it.
But what I’m aiming at, is that youngsters and young adults will end up searching for themselves and their uniqueness by trial and error anyway. One day they will run around like a hippie without a bra and the next day they’ll wear fake lashes looking like a femme fatale.
I am not denying that the pressure in the model industry, especially if pursued as a professional career and not a hobby, is another dimension!
Important note here: No matter, whether it’s normal peer dynamics or whether your children, friends, etc. decide to start modelling, let them try out things, but if you detect dangerous and harmful changes in their behaviour and thought patterns, please do talk to them! That’s my humble opinion.

Talking from my own experience, I can definitely say that there were moments in which I compared myself to other models concerning height, measurements, weight, outward appearance, hair, style, body and work ethic. But probably every employee and amateur pursuing a hobby does the same.
We compare each other and our work.
And probably that’s the biggest crux in this particular field of work: To make a distinction between your work and your body when it comes to modelling isn’t as easy as in other fields, let’s say a report, a product, a text.
If I wrote a text my client doesn’t like and they say “Gina, the text you produced does not fit my requirements.”, of course, I could take it personally, but there is the text and here I am. Although I produced the text, the text is not me.
But when a photographer says “Gina, your posture is a catastrophe and your body doesn’t look like the measurements on your profile, you seem more corpulent.”, to make this distinction between my work and my outward appearance, my body, the home of my soul, becomes far more complicated.
I think you get what I mean.

But it’s not impossible. It’s a lot of hard work, as is taking critique not too personal in general and to despair and doubt oneself directly, which probably everyone of you knows, be it professional, hobby wise or in personal matters.

Fortunately, in retrospect, I can say that modelling rather helped me see and understand my own facets than pushing me into crises.
To the contrary: On days, where work didn’t go as planned or when in personal situations things went wrong and I started doubting myself, my work and wondered what the eff I was doing, a look on my colourful portfolio often gave me a kick of “I am Miss fucking Laventura, I have been so many things already, a fairy, a nerd, a fashion model, an artificial being, the powerful rock girl, the delicate one, and so much more. Why the heck should I not be able to do it?!”

helena behle

JimP4nsen

dw-foto-art
justyhmakeup

vanessa marie

sw-fotografie

norbert josefsson

But, here’s a big BUT, that can also be related to the fact that first of all I didn’t pursue a professional model career, I didn’t run from casting to casting, and quite early on my focus was put on creative, artsy productions and later on on expressive pictures that I could combine with my texts. Maybe that helped me a bit to escape the pressure of the mainstream. (And I say that with all the love, I mean the popular fields of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, commercial).

By the way, I don’t mean to sugarcoat anything here. I received so many rejections that I can’t even put all the frustration, disappointment and doubts into words right here.
Agency after agency rejected me because they didn’t see good placement chances with their clients, because either my face was too special or not special enough.
So many jobs slipped through my fingers, although I fulfilled all the requirements, etc. etc. etc.

But through all this experimenting one can learn what feels natural and what doesn’t, where is the line between a facet of me and a role I play?
There were shootings in which I wore clothes and styles that couldn’t have felt more strange to me and I can say, it was a role I loved playing.

christian becker
visahamm

What counts then for me is: Did I play the role well? Does it come across as authentic?

Likewise, there were shootings that set out as a role, with which I couldn’t identify at all, and during the shooting itself I discovered that it was an unknown or even neglected facet of myself.

norbert josefsson

This playing and experimenting has the potential to teach you a lot about yourself, which can also contribute positively to self-confidence.
After a while, it becomes clear what feels natural and what feels like a role, which role is a role that I can identify with and which one goes completely against my natural disposition.
Likewise, it teaches you to reject projects that don’t fit you, no matter how versatile and flexible you are, because if it’s a role that you cannot bring across authentically, it doesn’t serve anyone.

And sometimes it’s just great fun to jump into a different character and to be someone you’re normally not.
Like on Karneval: You’re a princess, a king, a clown, a childhood hero.

The most important thing is that you always take the core of yourself with you.
And that means mostly and foremost to know yourself and to get to know yourself. Of course, laughing about and with yourself, too.
And in an ideal case it’s fun and enjoyable to be yourself.
With all the facets, crazy attitudes and quirks.

manufaktur lichtbild
andreas trnka

Did/do you celebrate carnival?
If so, what’s your disguise today? Who are you?
I’m sick, so I go as a bottle of cough sirup.
And you?

xxx
Gina.

#sundaystory: Vergewaltigt

#sundaystory: Vergewaltigt

Für leseschreiberin
Die vorgegebenen Elemente waren:

a) Deutsch
b) Vergewaltigt
c) Theater, Luft, spiegelverkehrt
d) Komödie

Vergewaltigt

“Ich habe mir das alles nochmal vergewaltigt und denke, dass du viel zu wenig über Kunst und Kultur weißt, Dana.”, sagt mein Vater.

“Verge-was, Papa?”

“Na, ich hab mir die ganze Situation nochmal durch den Kopf gehen lassen, mir angeschaut, wie du so deinen Tag verbringst, ich habe mir das eben alles nochmal vergewaltigt.”

“Du meinst vergegenwärtigt, ja?”

“Oh, Frau Gymnasium macht jetzt hier einen auf superschlau und versucht den Alten nass zu machen, was? So nicht, Frollein! Ich sage dir, du lernst ja nix, immer nur Schminke hier und Freunde treffen da.”

Ich rolle mit den Augen und atme tief durch.

“Papa, in Anbetracht der Tatsache, dass ich seit Wochen für die Abschlussprüfung durchlerne und jede Nacht nur um die vier Stunden schlafe, glaub mir, es ist besser für uns alle, wenn ich mich schminke und nicht aussehe wie ein überfahrener Iltis, okay?”

“Jaja, lernen”, sagt er und setzt dabei das Wort ‘lernen’ mit seinen ketchupverschmierten Fingern in Anführungszeichen.

“Papa!”

“Dana,” sagt er schmatzender und mampfender Weise. “Du trifft deine Freundinnen faft jeden Tag und ftändig quatft ihr nur über die Jungf und jetf willf du mir daf alf lernen verkaufen…”

Ich rolle erneut mit den Augen. “Papa, erstens versteh ich nur die Hälfte, wenn du ne halbe zerkaute Kuh in der Schnute hast und zweitens, welche Jungs?!”

Er schluckt den letzten Bissen runter. “Aha, hast mich also doch verstanden! Na, die ganzen hier, wie sie heißen da… William und Oscar und dann irgendwelche Intrigen mit Virginia und Jane und was weiß ich, was ihr euch da für ne Seifenoper zusammenquatscht, wenn ihr da nächtelang zusammen Pyjamaparty macht.”

Ich. raste. aus.

Kurzer, ganz kurzer Einblick in die Situation. Jeden Sonntag im Sommer grillen wir draußen auf der Terrasse. Richtig hübsch klassisch. Also klassisch asi. Vatti in Fliegerseide und Mutti mit Lockenwicklern um den Kopf. Nein, kein Scherz, ja, leider wahr. Was soll ich machen. Wäre ja halb so wild, habe mich mittlerweile dran gewöhnt, dass meine Eltern noch nicht mal versuchen mich zu verstehen, aber die nächste Kiste ist einfach, dass jeden dritten Sonntag und der liebe Herrgott allein weiß, warum es jeder dritte Sonntag ist, kriegt mein Vater irgendeine Sinnkrise und meint mich belehren zu müssen. Dann sorgt er sich um meine Bildung und meine Berufschancen und all sowas. Wir erwähnen jetzt mal nicht, dass ich letztes Jahr Klassenbeste und Zweitbeste des Jahrgangs war, ist okay, kein Problem. Diese überväterliche Sorge hat mir im Laufe eines einzigen Sommers bereits die unsäglichsten Erlebnisse beschert: Das eine Mal, wo mein Vater mich zu einer Podiumsdiskussion in der Stadthalle schleppte, um mit den Lokalpolitikern zu diskutieren, was für mich persönlich gut lief, für ihn leider nicht so, als er aus dem Saal geworfen wurde, nachdem er den Oberbürgermeister gefragt hatte, mit wem er geschlafen habe, um diese Position zu erreichen, da er eine – ich zitiere – “Flachpfeife sondergleichen” sei. Jap.

Oder das andere Mal, als er sich um meine sozialen Kompetenzen sorgte und mich zu einem Hockey-Schnupperkurs anmeldete. Super Idee. Ich bin in Sportarten, die irgendwas mit Schlägern oder Bällen zu tun haben in etwa so kompetent wie besagter Oberbürgermeister in seinem Amt, also gar nicht. Immerhin lerne ich schnell und schaffte es zumindest, nur jeden dritten Schlag zwischen die Beine und vors Schienbein zu bekommen. Skurril wurde es, als mein Vater mich dann anfeuerte, die Gegner zu fowlen, was mich mitten auf dem Spielfeld zu der Frage veranlasste, wer von uns beiden eigentlich an seinen sozialen Kompetenzen arbeiten müsse. Immerhin hab ich mich beim Captain des gegnerischen Teams entschuldigt, nachdem ich ihn mit meinem Hockeyschläger ungünstig an der Schläfe getroffen hatte. Also, so ungünstig, dass er bewusstlos wurde. Wenn ich sein benebeltes Grinsen richtig gedeutet habe, hat er meine Entschuldigung immerhin angenommen.

Oder das andere Mal, als mein Vater die grandiose Idee hatte, ich solle mich körperlich ertüchtigen, denn – ich zitiere wieder – “in Sahne recko Korporo.” Genau, Papa, genau, Sahne spielt bestimmt ne Rolle hier. (Kein Wunder, dass ich schon seit frühester Kindheit Brille tragen muss, ich wette, ich fing schon früh an mit den Augen zu rollen, bei dem Senf, den dieser gute Mann manchmal von sich gibt.) Schwimmverein! Hielt er für eine prächtige Idee. Es würde alle Muskeln beanspruchen, gleichzeitig würde man nicht so eklig verschwitzt sein und so weiter und so fort, ellenlanger Vortrag. Nur als Randinfo: Ich habe meinen Vater nie schwimmen sehen. Also schwimmen im Sinne von Strecke im Wasser zurücklegen. Er treibt so mehr, wenn ihr versteht. Toter Mann mit Bier in der Hand. Oder wahlweise mobile Kinderhalterung mit selbst mitgebrachtem Rettungsring. Ihr versteht schon. Fand ich trotzdem ne ganz süße Idee, weil Papa anscheinend verpasst hatte, dass ich nach dem Seepferdchen auch noch die folgenden Abzeichen gemacht hatte, aber nun gut. Als sich alsbald zeigte, dass ich schon sehr gut schwimmen konnte – größte Verwunderung seitens meines Vaters –, meinte er, es sei sicherlich gut, wenn ich mich “auf dem Wasser” bewegen könne (Darf ich mich kurz vorstellen: Dana von Nazareth, Jesus war mein Cousin. – wie soll man denn bei sowas nicht mit den Augen rollen?! –), aber “unter Wasser ist auch wichtig”, meinte Papa. Ich holte grad tief Luft um zu protestieren, als er mich auch schon mit einer Hand unter Wasser drückte, mit den Worten “wollen mal sehen, wie lang du die Luft anhalten kannst”. Hustender Weise und schlumpfblau entließ er mich dann nach 3 Minuten seinem lehrreichen Griff.

Ja, das war ein kurzer Einblick in die lehrreichen Stunden im Unterricht meines Vaters.
Und nun das hier. Wohin das auch immer führen sollte.

Zurück zum Thema.

“Papa… das sind keine Pyjamaparties. Wenn Lotte und Chris kommen, dann lernen wir für die Abschlussprüfung! Und William, Oscar, Virginia und Jane sind Autoren!”

“Autoren, was autorieren die denn so?”, sagt Papa spitzfindig während er mit dem Zahnstocher an seinem Eckzahn herumpult. (Gott, ich wünschte es wäre ein Goldzahn, das würde SO sehr ins Bild passen…)

Ich atme tief ein, ziehe Luft durch die Zähne, stoße sie geräuschvoll aus.

“Sie schrieben. Präteritum. Sie sind tot. Verdammt Papa, Shakespeare? Wilde? Woolf? Austen?”

“Hm?” macht er und zieht eine Augenbraue hoch.

“Ach, schon gut.” sage ich resigniert.

“Jedenfalls,”, hebt er feierlich an, “habe ich mir überlegt, dass wir zwei ins Theater gehen.”

“Ins Theater?”

“Ja, ins Theater.”

“Ins Theater? Du? Ich? Ins Theater?” keuche ich.

“Sag mal, Dana, bist du heut schwer von Begriff? Hast du von Muttis Bowle genascht?”

“Ja, nein, hab ich nicht. Okay, ins Theater. Du willst mit mir ins Theater. Wann? Und was wird gespielt?”

“Na, heut Abend geben sie Romeo und Julia, ein klassisches Stück der Kultur.”, sagt er stolz.

“Ja, was für eine ausgezeichnete und außergewöhnliche Wahl.”, gebe ich zurück.

“Ja, nicht wahr?!”, sagt er mit stolz geschwollener Brust.

Ich schließe die Augen, um ihnen eine Pause vom Rollen zu gönnen.

“Okay, Romeo und Julia. Bitte, so sei es denn.”, sage ich. Widerstand war von jeher zwecklos gewesen, also durchatmen und über sich ergehen lassen. Einzige Lösung.

Mein Vater grinst zufrieden und sagt “Aber zieh dir was nettes an, ja. Immerhin ist es Theater!”

“Ja, daran bin ich schon gewöhnt..”, sage ich.

“Was?” brüllt er, während ich dabei bin mich in mein Zimmer zurückzuziehen.

“Ach nix.”

 

Punkt sieben steh ich gestriegelt bei uns in der Küche, wie es sich eben für einen Theaterbesuch gehört, Hosenanzug, Bluse, Lederschuhe mit kleinem Absatz, die sonst recht widerspenstigen Haare zu einem ordentlichen Knoten gezaubert.

Dann kommt mein Vater. Ich bin sprachlos.

Also ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob er “Der Pate” ein mal zu oft gesehen hat oder, ob er sich einfach direkt der Familie Montague oder Capulet anschließen will. Fast befürchte ich, er wolle selbst heut Abend auf die Bühne gehen. Der Anzug ist ihm zwar nur minimal zu klein, aber das Jackett kann er nur gerade eben so schließen, wenn er den Bauch etwas einzieht und ziemlich kontrolliert atmet. Die Weste darunter und die Fliege lassen ihn etwas zu pompös für das schnöde lokale Theater aussehen und die polierten Lackschuhe, die glänzen wie eine Speckschwarte sind nur noch von seinen mit Frisiercreme in Form gelegten Haaren zu übertreffen. Ich weiß ja nicht, wann das mal Mode war, aber sicherlich muss das vor meiner Geburt gewesen sein. Mindestens so lang muss auch der Kauf dieser Artikel her gewesen sein.

Mein Vater streckt sich, stellt den Arm in die Hüfte und spreizt ihn ab, sodass ein einladendes Dreieck entsteht. Dann grinst er mich an. “Na, was ist, kommste?”

Ich atme tief durch, hake mich ein und wir marschieren Richtung Theater.

Wir treten ein und die Leute glotzen meinen Vater an. Unwillkürlich versuche ich meinen Arm aus seiner Ellbeuge zu lösen. Vergeblich, er hat ihn fest im Griff. Alle schauen ihn an, als gehöre er zum Ensemble. Wir gehen schnurstracks durch und finden unsere Plätze schnell. Es wird zügig dunkel. Zum Glück.

Mein Vater ist voll drin im Geschehen und kommentiert mit heftigem Stöhnen, mit “Ah”s und “Oh”s, die Handlung auf der Bühne, was uns von unseren Sitznachbarn böse Blicke einbringt.

Als Julia den Trank der Tränke hoch hält, um ihn gleich darauf zu sich zu nehmen, friemelt mein Vater ein kleines Schnapsfläschchen aus der Innentasche seines Anzugs, hält sie der Julia in einer Bewegung, die ihrer spiegelverkehrt ähnlich kommt, entgegen und flüstert “Prösterken, wer trinkt schon gern allein, Jule, wa?” und kippt zeitgleich mit ihr den Trank hinunter. Ich rolle nicht mit den Augen, einzig und allein aus dem Grund, dass ich das Stück ungestört weitersehen möchte.

Der Rest des Stücks bleibt weitestgehend komplikationsfrei von Seiten meines Vaters, was sicherlich dem Konsum von zwei weiteren Fläschchen zu verdanken ist.

Als wir später in die laue Sommerluft aus dem Theater treten, meint mein Vater:
“Na, Dana, was sagst du? War das nicht viel besser, als mit den Mädels über Schnickschnack zu quatschen? Das war doch mal ordentliches Kulturprogramm!”

“Fragt sich nur, für wen.”, meine ich.

Mein Vater ignoriert meine zynischen Kommentare geflissentlich und zwingt meinen Arm wieder liebevoll in seinen Würgegriff à la Rocky Balboa.

“Aber du, alle reden ja von dieser großen Liebe und wie toll Romeo ist, ne.”, sagt Papa plötzlich nachdenklich.

“Hmm.” mache ich.

“Aber das mit dem Trinken muss der Jung noch üben, wa? So ganz helle war der wohl nicht. Die Jule war da ja trinkfester als er.”

Ich rolle mit den Augen…

 

 

 

Gina Laventura © 2019

#socialsaturday: Idols vs. Inspiring People

#socialsaturday: Idols vs. Inspiring People

Hey my dears,

there is something that I have had on my mind for quite a while now and I thought it’s about time to tackle the topic.
So, today we’re gonna talk about the concept of idols and inspiring people.

Why? Well, first of all, because I consider it interesting and as this is my virtual space here… but moreover, because I think it’s an up to date topic, especially in times like these, where social media is as popular as it is.

According to the Oxford Dictionary idol has the following meaning:

and according to the same source, inspiration has the following meaning:

As a creative you’re often asked “Who are your idols?” or at least I have the feeling that this question pops up from time to time. Or the other way round, creatives stating who their idols are.
On the flip side, the question “What inspires you?” comes up frequently as well.
And I can’t help myself but feeling the urge to make a distinction between both. (Which is also supported by the fact that the dictionary makes a distinction.)

To go a bit deeper, I personally have a slight rejective feeling towards the word idol, as for me, it has a connotation of wanting to be like one’s idol or even worse, being them.
And now taking the definition into account, it also has this aspect of God and worship, and yes, I know it’s said that humans were build in the image of God, but I don’t know…
Let’s take an example: I love Oscar Wilde’s works. I adore his writing style, his subtle social critique and I read about his personal life as well.
But would I call him my idol? No.
Because that for me would imply that I wanted to write like him, be like him, which for me includes a bit of being a copy cat or neglecting my own potential, talent and not searching for my own voice as a writer.
And sorry, Oscar, but I do not consider you a God. (Although we tend to say things like “Gosh, this man is a GOD.” and yes, colloquially everybody knows what’s meant by that, but in serious terms… no.)

Even if we take someone else as an example, maybe less male and less dead (God bless him), I wouldn’t call Elizabeth Gilbert for instance my idol. Sorry, Liz.
I really loved reading her books, some of her approaches caused a click moment in my brain, made me think and took my thoughts down other roads that I didn’t perceive before.
But that’s what I’d call an inspiration. Not an idol.
Because, with all due respect, I wouldn’t like to swap my life for hers.
And I guess that’s the greatest part within the process of distinction I’d make.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved meeting her on a reading tour in Germany for her book Big Magic* two years ago and I was really touched when my question was one of the last ones and she took her time and even asked a little more to understand my question correctly before answering.

*Hi, Liz, if you read this, I was the girl asking about how to know when it’s fear trying to take over and when it’s your intuition telling you not to do it because it’s better for you. (I took the leap of faith and did it, overcame the weird feelings, put myself through it and the outcome wasn’t as great, so my intuition was right, but I consider it a good lesson in many ways and I’m still more than grateful for your advice and words.)*

Okay, back to the topic, my friends.
I consider her an inspiring person, in terms of writing, in terms of being a person.

But with all the movements I perceive on social media, I get a little worried that these two terms get mixed up a lot and people call youtubers and influencers inspiring when they are actually treating them like idols, not questioning the actions of said person, but tending to follow their example and just do the same.
And this uncritical worshipping is what worries me a lot.

Suddenly, you get up at 5 a.m. because your idol does and you go to the gym because your idol does.
Which is nice. Nothing against early birds and gyms.
But did you question whether it fits your individual body type? Whether it fits your schedule?
Maybe you’re the type of person that is better at working out later, maybe you’re the type of person that needs to sleep 8 hours, but your idol just needs 6. And this doesn’t mean that you’re bad and your idol’s better.
It just means that you’re different. And guess what: That’s okay.

Maybe you start eating like your idol, but your body type is different and within a certain time span you realise that you have low or no energy and wonder why.
And one of the worst things that happens then is the comparison between you and your idol, leading to the assumption that you are weak, worse or incapable of achieving what your idol achieves.
So it leads to a negative self perception.
And isn’t that weird? Odd?
That’s why I say idol for me includes a bit of this aspect of copying.

If the same person I just called your idol, we now call an inspiring person. What would change?
Well, you’d watch your inspiring person get up at 5 and maybe you’d try it too and realise that 5:30 is better for you.
Your inspiring person starts their day off by going to the gym, you try it, too, but you realise you’re slow in the morning, need your breakfast, and working out in the afternoon after finishing work, is much better for you.
You read a book of an inspiring author and this takes your thoughts on different roads, you play with words like they do, but you take the inspiration you got from them and mould them into something that fits your personality, character and nature, instead of just copying.
That way you have a tendency to grow, to find something out about yourself, your body, your time management, your writing voice, which in turn has a high tendency to lead to a positive self perception. And there is no need for comparison between you and the person that inspired you.

Taking the above mentioned definitions into account, inspiration has a divine quality, as the divine influence is mentioned.
But this doesn’t mean that you worship the inspiring person like a God. But that you perceive the divine spark that they were maybe touched by and that they now radiate into the world.
It is also connected to breathing in, inspiration.
But you know what, breathe in. Through the nose.
Do you think you absorb e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g that is included in the air? No.
There are a million little filters, that do their job, before the inhaled air reaches your innermost parts.
And if you apply that onto inspiring people, it’s quite similar.
You inhale this inspiring thought, but it runs through your own little million filters before reaching the spots deep inside of you.
And these filters are your critical approach, your own opinion, your personality, character, tendencies, preferences, etc.

So, don’t get me wrong, I don’t dub anything as good or bad, I just came across this topic and it has been lingering on my mind for quite a while and after having had a conversation about this topic, I decided it was about time to let this be my first #socialsaturday post. Thanks for the inspiration, mate.

As long as you keep your critical perspective, it might be okay to have an idol, I just worry about this copy cat components that I perceive sometimes when scrolling through social media.
I myself am more than grateful for all the inspiring people I was allowed to meet on my way, be it in person as Elizabeth Gilbert, or on paper, like Oscar, be it my closest friends, my creative crew, or just a stranger I had an inspiring conversation with.

As these thoughts are just thoughts and not set in stone perspectives, please let me know your thoughts on this topic!
You already know my creed inspiration through communication, so please delight me with your divine sparks.
Feel free to comment or send an email or slide into my DMs on instagram.

Enjoy your weekend.

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

#writerswednesday: Tips for Creativity & Inspiration

#writerswednesday: tips for creativity & inspiration

As there are many creatives out there in different fields, be it photography, film making, writing, singing, acting, modelling, dancing, painting, whatever, I realised that often they are confronted with the same or similar problems.
Some of them being in the direction of the following:

* I’m not in the mood, I don’t know where to go with my art, it feels useless what I’m doing
* I have the feeling that I’m just repeating and reproducing what I’ve already done
* I have too many ideas and my mind is all over the place so that I feel like getting actually nothing done

These and similar thoughts I myself have encountered, but I also heard them quite frequently from other creatives, as by now I know quite many of them.
That’s why I’d like to share some advice with you. And this is not just for writers or photographers or other creatives.
Creative comes from create and therefore, any task that creates something can be seen as a creative task.
Be it gardening, redecorating your home or something else.
To cope with all these negative, limiting and blocking thoughts, I’m gonna share some tips with you that helped me all along the way of my creative path.

1. Take a break, have a coffee*. Consume art.

* can be substituted by anything you like, tea, whiskey, chocolate, cake…

When you feel like not being in the mood, like having all these ideas in your mind but they don’t mould into the next great piece of art, leave it. Let it take a rest. Don’t let inspiration run away, but give it a little time.
If you feel like being really blocked from it, it can also help to consume a lot of art to get into your own flow again.
As a writer, read. And read a lot.
As a photographer or model, watch a lot of pictures, follow other models/photographers and get your inspo board refreshed.
As a film maker, watch a lot of movies.
As a cook, read recipes, watch cooking shows or youtube videos.
The list could go on like that now, but I think you already got it.
This is not to say consume a lot in order to copy, but in order to get your inspiration back on track.

2. Sit down. Turn your phone off. Produce.

When your mind is so overflowing with ideas that you’re loosing track and you always think “I don’t know where to start.” this is gonna be lethal to your inspirational flow.
Instead, sometimes, although it feels like sh*t, just take the next best thing on your list (or if you already prioritised, take the top priority), sit down and get something done. Just start.
Or if you feel totally lost, like nothing great is coming out of your mind, take one thing that has been on your to do list for a quite a while or take a small creative task and push it forward.

As Picasso said “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

So, if you’re missing inspiration, it’s not necessarily gonna come while you’re contemplating about not having inspiration, you know.
In most cases, negative thoughts create a negative environment, so why should inspiration feel invited?
Create an invitational environment for inspiration and keep on working!

3. Try something new.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and you’re only reproducing and repeating things that you already did and you tend to be bored by yourself and your art, just try something new.
Again, this is not to copy someone else, but if for instance you’re a writer of romantic stories and you’re completely stuck, try to write, dunno, a detective story or something from a different genre. Just to see whether you like it or not, to challenge yourself and to keep your mind in your creative field but with a different perspective.
This can also add to your own authentic voice, because maybe you find out that you actually like this genre, or parts of it or even that you don’t like it at all. It doesn’t matter. Either way it’s gonna show you something about you and your art and work.
For me, I realised that the #sundaystory helped a lot with this. It is challenging to combine the prompts to something coherent and as the mood or tone or genre is given as well, sometimes they are completely off my normal field of creative work. But I consider it exciting and really refreshing to use my skills in a different genre and to learn and grow with it.
Of course, this also works in other fields, cook something new, wear a combination of clothes that you haven’t worn before, style yourself in a manner that you’ve never styled yourself before in, take photos of things that normally don’t attract your photographic attention, etc.
Just try something new. It’s refreshing and helps you grow and learn.
About you. About your work. About your art.

4. Communicate. Meet friends. Chitchat. Share. Exchange.

One of my creeds and believes is “Inspiration through communication”.
Oftentimes while chatting with close friends, business partners and strangers, this exchange gives me impulses that hit a spot that was untouched before. And sometimes a good conversation is all you need to get you back on track again.
More often than not, when my mind is overflowing with ideas and I don’t how to prioritise them or whether they make sense or not, calling my best friend and chatting with her over a nice cup of coffee is the best thing I can do.
It’s not only her input, although it’s a beautiful input and I feel blessed to have such great friends, but it’s also that while you’re talking to someone else, you’re also talking to yourself and in that moment you shape things in a manner that you weren’t able to when everything was just in your own head.

5. Take yourself on a date.

As much as communication and conversation with people can be inspiring and give you impulses, as much is it important to take some time just for yourself. And no, darling, I don’t mean you on your own, glued to your phone, having a ton of chats open and still communicating with others.
I mean you, yourself and you again.
And when I say take yourself on a date, I really mean it.
Don’t go to the laundry service alone with a cuppa to go and call it a date, ok?
Don’t cheat!
I really mean, if you were another person taking yourself on a date, what would it look like?
Would you go to a restaurant? A cafe? To the cinema? Taking a long walk in a park?
Whatever you consider your dream date to look like, don’t wait for anyone, treat yourself to it.
Sometimes you would find me in a cafe with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, mostly with my paper notebook or my laptop or a book to read, enjoying some time alone, just doing things that I love and that inspire me.
And no, no, no, I don’t do it to have a cute picture to post on instagram.
I mean yes, you caught me, that happened too, but I don’t go there in the first place to promote and advertise dating oneself on social media, you know. If I do so, I do it because I’m in the mood.
One of the things that I also love doing is getting up early in the morning, when the streets are still quiet and drive into a city, any city that I like, and walk the streets, watching all the details of architecture for example, taking pictures of the rising sun between houses or a beautiful flower on a wall or anything that captures my attention and that I therefore want to capture too. It’s really an intensive feeling taking a walk alone and watch a city waking up.
Sometimes I also take a walk in a forest or in a park or at a sea, whatever I feel like. And yes, a lot of the times I’m talking to myself.
I mean, hey, this is a date, huh? And normally we do talk on dates, don’t we?

General advice: Disconnect.
In many cases it’s a good choice to enjoy these moments disconnected from emails, social media and chats.
This is not a necessity, but it helps you refocus on what’s important to you without comparing yourself and your art to others and their work. And this gives you more freedom in your mind to work on your very own business.
You can still share the pictures you took, the things you’ve done, the experiences you made later on, but grant yourself a little time to really feel them inside of yourself.

I hope these tips and advice gave you some impulses on how to get yourself and your creative energy flowing again.
Of course there are many more things that I could put on this list and I might make a series out of it, but right now, I don’t want to bore you until the last spark of inspirational flow ran out by reading a blog post that was waaaayyyy too long.

Plus, guess what I’m gonna do? Yup, I just heard some coffee call my name. Can you hear it, too?

#modelmonday: Building a Portfolio

#modelmonday: Building a Portfolio

Building a Portfolio

As there are many aspiring models and hobby models out there who’d like to take a step into modelling as their profession or passion, but often don’t really know how to start, I thought about sharing some experiences, insights and my personal opinion, based on what I have learned during 10 years of standing in front of the camera myself.

I’d like to start modelling but I don’t have good photos

Now, first of all I recommend you ask yourself whether you’d like to pursue a career in this business or whether you consider it more a hobby or passion.
This is not to say that once you decided, you have to stick with that decision, you might as well turn your professional desire into a passion or make your passion your profession.
All I’m saying is that depending on your answer, the approach might be different.

1. If you’d like to pursue it as a career I recommend you get some good digitals (basically shots with no make-up, face front, face profile, sometimes front with a smile, whole body shots, often in tight clothes or bikini so your shape becomes easily visible) and directly apply to agencies.
But beware, getting good digitals isn’t always as easy as it sounds as a wrong angle might eff up your proportions completely and looking at them you’ll wonder why you ever thought you could apply to a modelling agency.
Believe me, I know what I’m talking about.
The other option is you check for open castings provided by your agency of choice, sometimes they offer open castings where digitals are also taken, but it’s always a good idea to already have some pictures with you.
And yes, that might mean you’ll have to invest. Check for photographers that offer sedcard (or setcard) photo shootings, they might help you get a good base to get a foot in the biz, and yes, as it is their profession, they want to be paid.

2. If modelling is rather a hobby or a passion for you, it’s not a bad idea to have good digitals, too, but this doesn’t necessary have to be the first step.
What you want to do is get some photos of you that show your versatility.
What do I mean by that? I mean that you want to get pictures of yourself that differ in style, styling, location, facial expression and mood you portray.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have friends who are photographers or you know someone who knows someone, etc. to get some pictures that you can start with at least to register on platforms in order to find other creatives to collaborate with.
If not, you might consider paying a photographer for a first session in order to get a base.
Then you can for instance register on a platform that offers a space for photographers, models and make-up artists to collaborate for joint productions, free projects or even paid jobs.

digital face front -dermagdans-

I’d like to build a versatile portfolio, but how?

1. Even if you decided to pursue modelling as a career, registering on a platform where creatives meet or setting up a Facebook page or showing some pictures on Instagram might help you get attention from some amazing photographers that would like to work with you. If an agency accepted you, they often know photographers and you start off by shooting some free projects with them, which adds to your and their portfolio.

2. No matter whether additionally to your career or for your hobby or passion, checking said platforms for Tfp projects (free projects intended to broaden the portfolios of photographer and model where none earns money but the photographic results serve as compensation) is a good idea to get involved into different projects set on different locations in different outfits and styles and to work with different photographers who produce pictures in different looks.

3. Another option, which many don’t like to take into consideration, is search for photographers whose style you adore and whose work would level up your portfolio and then, yes, guess what, PAY THEM ! I know, unbelievable. Thing is this: Often times the top ranking photographers you’d love to work with don’t offer Tfp shoots. Or at least not to amateurs. And yes, darling, according to many people’s definition we are amateurs. So, if you really crave getting pictures from this photographer, save your money and go for it.
By no means do I say that you can’t ask them whether they’d be down for a Tfp shooting with you, please don’t misunderstand. I’m just saying that often times they do free projects either with very experienced models or with promising new faces. And whether you’re a promising new face or not is unfortunately not up to you to decide.

.

Should I invest into building a portfolio and if so, how much?

1. If you’re registered with an agency, they normally take care of test shoots to broaden your portfolio, so you shouldn’t pay a photographer in order to take pictures from you if your agency got you this test shoot.
Never ever should you pay for the registration with an agency or for a casting! Never ever! If you read about a casting where you should pay for the establishment of a setcard or for the photos taken by a professional photographer or anything like it, leave it, drop the idea, don’t do it, it’s not serious!
You might tend to think “but I’m not an experienced model, of course I have to invest before I earn” and well, the approach is more than true in various fields of life, but consider this: If you sent your pictures to an agency or went to a casting and they decided to add you to their list of models, then it was because they saw potential in you. Potential to get jobs, earn money, and as they earn from what you earn, it’s also the potential money they see you bringing back. So, don’t ever pay for setting up a profile or setcard for your agency. Serious and professional agencies don’t do that. They might take a certain charge from your first fees in order to compensate the expenses they had for getting you those jobs, yes, but: You don’t pay in advance!

2. Different when you’re not registered with an agency. Of course you still have the chance to participate in free projects, but there is no one providing you options like these, but you have to find them yourself, for instance on creative collaboration websites or if you follow photographers and make-up artists on Facebook and Instagram and they are searching for a model. If you only find Tfp options that don’t really add to your portfolio because you already have a million pictures in this style or because they all go into a direction you don’t aim at, there is still the possibility to search for jobs you have to pay for, but sometimes these are special offers for a specific topic. So, sometimes you only have to pay the make-up artist or it’s just a small fee you have to pay for photographer, make-up artist and post processing. And with small fee I talk round about 80 €. That’s a mofo deal!

3. So yes, I understand that you don’t want to or can’t invest a fortune into building a portfolio, but saving some money and putting it into a well spent shooting that gets you extraordinary results, is worth it. It raises the tendency that great photographers, yes, even those ones you stalk on a daily and that mostly work with very experienced models, see you and see your potential and that you get asked by cool creatives to collaborate with them.
Does this already land you jobs where you earn a lot of money? Well, if you’re really lucky, yes. In a normal case, rather not. But it gives you the chance to collaborate with other creatives whose portfolio might be broader or of high quality on Tfp, which then adds to the attention you gain, which offers you more chances for more free projects, which eventually might lead to you getting paid jobs. (Oh, and paid jobs rarely come to you via email in the morning post, while you’re drinking coffee and painting your nails or grooming your beard, if you’re a male model, you actually have to search for them and apply. Unless you just ate a fortune cookie that serves you luck 24/7, then your inbox might explode in 3,2,1….)

.

So, talking from my own experience, I can say that building up a portfolio which enabled me to work with the great photographers that I had been stalking often enough before, dreaming to work with them, thinking “they will never work with me” etc., wasn’t an easy task, but you learn a lot on the way and that’s amazing, too.
I started off with having some Tfp shoots. I was lucky enough to have caught a photographer’s eye on an event who then gave me his card and asked me to come around for a free photo shoot. That was pure luxury and I’m really thankful for that. With those pictures I registered on platforms and browsed through the Tfp jobs and applied.
And guess what: I’ve been rejected a lot. Like… A LOT!
Then I saw some jobs where you had to pay, but I watched the pictures of the make-up artists and photographers working on the projects and thought “I’d love to work with them!”. Well, round about 100 other girls thought the same, so even paying for it wouldn’t give you a guarantee to be part of the project. So, I took some of my saved money and invested in different jobs of this kind. And it WAS SO WORTH IT!
I picked them wisely and did my research well before throwing my money out of the window, but it instantly raised the level of my portfolio. It’s really important to choose wisely and to consider the quality of the photos, the uniqueness of the project etc. before you invest.
We’re talking inVESTment, not inWASTEment, huh.
It must have been round about 5 photo shootings I paid for, each of them ranging somewhere between 40 € and 100 €, so yes, I invested something between 250 € and 300 € of my hard earned and saved money into great pictures of extraordinary kind back in those days.
And they gave me the chance to work with so many great photographers on Tfp later on that now I can count several Tfp and paid shootings to my portfolio, because yes, later on, I also landed jobs where I got paid.
The way wasn’t easy, but every step was worth it!

dermagdans

I hope my recommendations and coffee chat like rambling helped you and gave you a little insight.
Feel free to share your own experience with me and let me know if you still have questions. Let me know in the comments below, shoot me an email or send me a DM on Instagram.

Reclamation – A poem in episodes

The special series I announced on my blogwarming party

a poem in episodes, by gina laventura

norbert josefsson

Don’t label my body
As if you had the right to
Cause you don’t

norbert josefsson

Don’t try to narrate my story
As if you had the right to
Cause you don’t

norbert josefsson

Don’t bathe in my glory
As if you had the right to
Cause you don’t

norbert josefsson

This body is not yours to label

norbert josefsson

This story is not yours to narrate

norbert josefsson

This glory is not yours to bathe in

norbert josefsson

You don’t own me
I only owe to fate
I write my story
I worked for the glory
Your bodies
Narrate different stories
And that is fine
But my body is my body
And my story
With all its failure and its glory
Is mine

Gina Laventura © 2017

A huge thank you to everyone who hopped over to instagram and followed the series there bit by bit and for all the comments and feedback.
It was a very special series that we produced last year and that I didn’t want to publish “just like that”, or just instantaneously (see what I did there?), so it was clear to me that I’d publish it when the frame was set. And when the blog finally went into relaunch and I was able to present my new virtual home to you, it felt like best choice that this series should be the first decoration on the long wall.
I hope you enjoyed it. A lot of energy and emotion fled into this one.

Blogwarming Party

Hier Beitrag auf Deutsch lesen

norbert josefsson

Welcome!

Grab a drink, take a seat or join me on the dance floor and let’s celebrate together.
The sofa is already there, decoration is not yet complete, table and chairs are ordered but not yet delivered, so take some cushions and make yourself comfortable in my place of creativity, my new virtual home.

Just like a housewarming party where not everything is 100% ready and perfect, I throw this blogwarming party today, where the frame is set, new layout plastered on the walls, but some details might still be added or removed in the course of the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it here and that you come over and visit me often.

After two years of not blogging, many months of planning the new layout, structuring ideas and setting up a whole strategy and subject schedule, pulling all-nighter after all-nighter in order to progress and proceed here, my fingertips are still covered in colour, my hair’s a mess and I’m still sweating.

But you see me with a smile on my face as it feels good to be back.

Let me give you a quick “room tour”. – Everybody should know where the loo and the fridge with fresh beer is, huh? –
On top you find the different topics.
The portfolio offers you an insight into my photo and video repertoire.
The about section offers you information on me, this blog and my work. Same in German below.
The services section gives you an overview of the services I offer on this website, including modelling and writing with the specific services of poetry & prose for special occasions and professional storytelling.
Contact & booking explains itself, I guess.
The Creative Chaos Cloud shows you all categories which you can find blog entries about, so that you can quickly get to the topics you’re interested in.

So much for the room tour, I hope you’re gonna find your way and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m trying to be a good host, you know.

What are the plans for the next weeks, what do I offer and why should you come back?
First of all, I’ve worked hard on a concept and contents that might be of value and interest for you.
So, here is what I came up with:
I will blog four times a month, so once a week about topics connected to the different fields I’m working in. One topic a week, that is.
Thus, what you gonna get is this:
#modelmonday: Information for models and photographers, funny anecdotes I experienced during 10 years in front of the camera and other info connected to this field.
#writerswednesday: Information for writers and readers, food for thought, inspiration and impulses revolving around writing and reading.
#socialsaturday: Random topics connected to us humans interacting with one another, social phenomenons, questions, perspectives, impulses on social topics.
#sundaystory: Yes, the sundaystory will be back and we gonna play again. If you don’t know what the sundaystory is, please click here. I will announce the next round early enough, but this won’t be before August probably, as I still owe two of my readers their stories.

After this blogwarming party, where you can take your time to stroll around and look at the redecoration, the new furniture and features, there will be a special series on the balcony, a.k.a instagram. So, don’t forget to check out my plants on the balcony, too.
Plus, I will also take you with me behind the scenes of creative productions in the insta stories.
The special series has been a production with Norbert Josefsson, which we produced last year, but I considered it so beautiful that I kept it for a special moment.
And I think that moment has come now.
So every day, starting on Friday, 15th June, I’m going to post one picture with text on instagram and facebook, which will add up to a series of six. On Thursday, 21st, you will get the complete series here on the blog as well as on instagram.

After the special we will start off with the first sundaystory on the 24th, as it has been two years of me owing these stories to two of my readers.
I hope you’re still there and I hope you still gonna read it.

Which leads me, after the organisational part, to the speech I’m supposed to give on such an event before everybody starts popping bottles like crazy – or at least that’s what I’m gonna do –.
Ahem, clink clink, ladies and gents, may I have your attention please: (you better grab another shot and drink, this is gonna take a while – or just skip the part written in italics – the perk of being here virtually and not in reality)

Thanks for being here tonight, for sharing this moment with me, for taking some time out of your busy day to join this celebration.
I’d like to thank all of the followers here on WordPress that stayed although I haven’t blogged for two years, which, in nowadays time is like an eternity.
Also I’d like to thank all the followers on instagram that didn’t unfollow when I didn’t post for six months, which is close to social media suicide.
I’d like to thank the virtual community for staying with me, supporting me and being patient with me.

Most of all, I’d like to thank the people, especially my closest friends, who virtually and in real life sent me their positive vibes and words, who encouraged me to keep up the work, who relentlessly kept asking about my work, my art, my blog, my writings and my poetry, who invested their time and energy to provide me with tipps and tricks, good advice and knowledge about social media, who gave me input and impulses for new content, who were patient with me when I asked for advice and feedback and who were loving and caring when I had to say “no” to events and instead had to sit down and work, who shared their nurturing positive energy with me and who knowingly or unknowingly inspired me and fuelled my motivation.

Without all of you, your patience and support, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating today.
It wasn’t an easy time and task, but now we’re here and I raise my glass to all of you. I’m forever grateful.

martin zethoff

Now enough of the talk and enjoy your time here, I hope you gonna stay a little longer and come back frequently.
If you have any questions, let me know.

xxx
Gina.

Insight into Labelled Love: Terms

On Instagram there is this #6wordchallenge and a fellow writer, @joshuacallawaypoetry challenged me to participate.
I ended up having more than one inspiration, but one was actually taken from one of the chapters of Labelled Love, a little bit modified, but nevertheless.
So, instead of just using it on insta, I thought, I’m going to share the whole chapter with you to set it into context.
Enjoy the read, my dears 😉

Terms

Stamps, labels, scales, measurements.
This seems to be the way we understand the world, our surroundings.
In her life, she was allowed to experience the miracle of unconditional love.
A love without conditions.
Without thinking “I love you, but…”, or “I love you, but only if you…”.
The universe had allowed her a glimpse on the utmost and only truth: Love.
A small glimpse, the rush of a moment and since then, she understood that she was able to love someone without expectations, without ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’.
That was why she revolted against stamps, scales, measurements and labels. They just didn’t matter to her.
Once she had discovered that she loved him, that was the only thing she needed to know.
Where would it go from there? Would she be defeated? Tricked and fooled again? Would she fly too high and fall too hard?
She banished those fearful thoughts and exchanged them with the only reasonable answer or contra question possible:
What does it matter? Does it matter at all?
If she fell, she’d get up again. This might be the most stupid and risky or the best and most moving idea ever. Anyway, it would be an experience.
Truth or dare? She dared the truth.
And she was rewarded by the soft words of a smart young man, who didn’t care about labels either. He told her that the term ‘relationship’ was what they both would define it as. And that they would discover this definition together in time.

Gina Laventura©2014

Merry Christmas!

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar


picture source: pixelstalk.net

My dears,

I’m utterly utterly sorry for not posting for so long.
Recently I have been too busy to blog, but I hope I’ll find time during the holidays to get back to blogging asap and present some new texts to you!

I wish you all a wonderful and blessed Christmas time amongst your beloved ones with loads of love and joy and happiness!

Let us count our blessings tonight and pray for the ones who are not as fortunate as we are and share and spread some love and piece; with our families, friends, neighbours, strangers, across the world. We are all one.

All the best

Gina.

Why Editors matter

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

IMG_2535

And with editor I mean reader, like the person who does the proofreading before something goes out into public.
Why is this work an important work?

Well, first things first.
We are social beings and our interaction with one another relies on communication, be it verbal or non-verbal. “We can not not communicate” as Paul Watzlawick said.
And of course we know that there are different purposes or intentions why we communicate, or at least this is what you’re taught when you study language and literature.
I don’t necessarily want to go into the details of Friedemann Schulz von Thun’s model of “the four sides of a message”, where he says a message has an informative content, an appeal/plea, self-revelation and says something about the relationship between the speaker and their interlocutor. If you’re interested in further details, you can check them here.
But for the sake of the argument let’s stick with this:
A message can be informative, appellative, persuasive or convincing.
So, when talking about business communication, say you want to sell a product or a service, but also in private communication, say you want to convince someone of your argument, I think we can agree that all these channels of communication have one thing in common: a purpose.
But what is this purpose?
When your message is informative, it’s the simple purpose that you want to pass this information, you want to feed us this information.
When your message is appellative, you want us to react upon that appeal, right?
When your message is persuasive or convincing, you want us to agree with you.
What all of these have in common now is not only that they have a purpose, but that they actually have the same purpose: You want to generate a RESPONSE in us.
But what happens if your communication fails?
Well, in the best case: nothing.
In the worst case you generate a response in us that is not the one you wanted, so you feed us information that we either don’t need or can’t handle or that we’re either incapable or unwilling to swallow.
Or your appeal was set out to generate a verbal (“say something!”) or a non-verbal (“do something!”) reaction in us. If your communication fails, we neither say something nor do we do something, in the best case. In the worst case we say what you don’t want to hear and we do exactly the opposite of what you were aiming at.
Or your persuasive or convincing communication fails and we disagree with you.
So, basically in all cases you’re getting a “no” where you actually wanted to get a “yes”, to keep it simple.

Well, nice talk Miss Laventura, but what does this have to do with editors?!
Editors – in the best case – are language lovers. Or at least they know their tools and how to use them. Their tools? Words.

Now, next lesson:
You might tend to think that the way we think determines the way we speak, so that our way of thinking influences our language, right?
Correct. But this works vice versa, and that is a point that many people unfortunately miss.
Let me give you some examples: The Inuit apparently have round about two hundred – 200 !!! – different words for “snow”. How many do you have? But why? Probably because their surrounding is essential for their survival and it is crucial for them to know what kind of snow there is in order to survive.
The Hopi Indians don’t use tenses as we’re used to using them. In the example given in our classes they tried to convert it into English, which ends up being a picture of a man who stands at a wall and in all cases says “He ran”. So, same position, same posture, always “he ran”. What is your natural reaction to that? Exactly, most probably “WTF? Did he run, does he run or will he run?!”, because these are the categories we distinguish time frames and time lines by, right? It just doesn’t get into our system of thinking. Because our language also had an influence and partly determined this system of thinking.
Of course there are easier and more popular examples like the fact that the English language doesn’t know a word for “Fernweh” – the longing for a far away place – or that simply spoken often there are some words that do exist in one language but bear no equivalent in another.

Back to the editors. As said before, they are language lovers or at least know how to use their tools.
And I don’t necessarily mean the manipulative and persuasive use of language that you often find in advertising, that is a topic of its own, although I’d say it plays similar keys on the piano.
But it’s about using stylistic devices (yes, the nasty ones you learned at school, alliteration, personification, etc.). For what? Yeah, now you got it, my friends: for the purpose! In order to get the message across, to generate a response (and when it comes to business or advertising, of course aiming at generating not only a response, but a specific one).
Language can resonate with us, it can move us, hurt us, maybe even heal us.

What I mean is this:
“The categorisation that takes place in emotional amorous relationships serves as a destructive force to the true meaning of the emotion itself.”

or

“Love becomes a lost lullaby when we label it like lipstick.”
Which one sticks better with you?

Why are we to blind to see
that a little poetry
moves so easy
from mouth to ear
so we listen, so we hear
with a smile or with a tear
what somebody has to tell?
That’s poetry’s magic spell.

(yes, just created that within a minute, wasn’t planned for this post, but hey, that’s life, response and stuff)

Okay, well Miss, now you have shown that an editor should know their tools, fine, but the title claims to give an answer to the question why editors matter.
You’re right, sorry, I’m drifting off sometimes, lovely topic of language, broad topic, amazing, love it.
Okay, I owe you an answer.
Look at the picture that accompanies this post. It’s German, I know.
The first one says “You will stay in our heart fo ever” and the second says something like “always loved and never forgtetn.”
Yes, exactly that was my reaction as well!
These hearts were sold before All Hallow’s Day, supposed to be stuck into graves.
Would you buy them? Would you put them onto a grave of one of your beloved ones?
Yeah, thought so.
But why is this a fail?
It’s not just the fact that there are spelling mistakes in it, but it bears a deeper level.
Let’s analyse it: You wanted to sell this product. You wanted us to buy this product. You offered a product and you wanted to generate a positive response, a “yes” in us, manifested in a non-verbal reaction by buying this product.
So, these products actually ending up in store and offered for purchase show different things:
First, apparently the person putting the letters on it didn’t check it. Apparently there was no editor who double-checked. Apparently there was no final check before you put the products into boxes and delivered them to the store.
But you know what the response is? No.
And do you know why the response is “no”?
Because the lack of proofreading, the lack of double-checking carries a message of its own.
And this message is that you don’t care.
That you don’t care about us, that you don’t care about our response because apparently you believe that we’re still going to buy it.
And you know what accompanies this “no”? Repulsion. Because deep down inside and subconsciously it shows a trace of disrespect and arrogance and maybe even a little insult to your potential customers.
This is just one example. Feel free to apply it to other fields.
If your website is full of spelling mistakes or you switch tenses or use wrong words, it always transports the impression that you don’t care about your readers/customers.
Moreover, you might give false information. And I think we can agree that there is a difference between “I’ve worked hard” and “I’ve hardly worked”, right?
And with that you work against yourself as by using wrong words or being careless about proofreading, you generate a response in us that is counter productive to your actual purpose and intention.
In the worst case, we will remember you as someone who doesn’t care and stop buying your products, stop reading your newspaper, not buy your book, not book the services offered on your website.
Nowadays the half-life period of a message is so short that it renders many people careless, because “nah, who cares, tomorrow this piece of information will be old and forgotten”, “nah, it’s alright, they’re gonna understand” is the mentality that we tend to live by.
It’s just language, right? And it’s just on a language level that you don’t care for us customers, right?
In person you care for us like a true nanny, it’s just the language level that lacks your attention, right?
It’s just language, eh?
Is it really?
Think about what we discussed beforehand, how language also reflects on our system of thinking. Therefore, it has an impact on our behaviour, doesn’t it?
Even if the argument “a careless behaviour concerning language shows careless behaviour in general” might be a bit too far fetched, it somehow does indicate it to a certain extent, doesn’t it? Deep down and subconsciously?
Don’t get me wrong, please, don’t take it as an offence.
I’m not saying that you don’t care about your readers or customers.
I’m just saying that this might be the subliminal message you’re transporting, the impression your readers/customers get.
And okay, not every reader or customer pays detailed attention to it, to some it doesn’t matter, but there might be potential readers/customers who will always stay exactly that: potential.
Because their reaction might be “if they care as much about me as they do about their grammar, I’m not gonna go there”.

And THAT, my friends, is why editors matter.
Because they can help prevent those scenarios depicted above from happening, because they know you, your message and your interlocutor and they find the right approach to the right channel to get it across, they can help you when all the other work concerning your project has rendered you stuck in a rut and you just want to get it done.
Because they are language lovers or at least they know their tools and how to use them.
Their tools? Words.

PS: Yes, I am cross with myself each and every single time I find spelling mistakes in one of my blog posts, although I don’t earn any money with my blog.
PPS: Yes, “love becomes a lost lullaby when we label it like lipstick” was taken from my book Labelled Love, although normally I find it strange when people quote their own works.
PPPS: Yes, well guessed, I am an editor 😉

Creating Controversial Content

Gina16Oct12-192
Photo & Editing: Dave Greensmith, 2012

Controversial content can raise awareness, right?
Often it does.
A “Fuck” in the title is almost a guarantee for clicks and reads, isn’t it?
And when you utter a controversial sentence, you can assume that a huge discussion will break loose, right?
Controversies polarise and that’s why they often gain attention.
That’s why many people use controversies on purpose.

I once created controversial content.
But not on purpose.
I created content. The story Underground.
And back at that time (still on the old blog) I got a response to it.
A response that showed me that I actually had created controversial content without being aware of it.
Suddenly, when reading this comment, I was confronted with a critique of this story, because the comment criticised the headscarf that is mentioned.
It was said the headscarf was a sign of oppression through the patriarchal system.

My first reaction to that?
“Sh*t, I need to delete this story, it’s controversial and bears the potential to polarise.”
I was shocked because I didn’t expect this controversy to arise from this story.

But you know what the good thing about a critical comment is?
It makes you shift your perspective onto the very thing you created.
Because what happened next was that I started arguing for the story, like I would defend my argument when it comes to literary analysis.
So I was wandering through my room with a cup of tea in my hands and hold an imaginary dialogue, or monologue, and said
Well, first of all, neither is the headscarf condemned nor is it glorified in this story, second, don’t read too much of the author into the work, as it’s only the character’s perception described, thirdly, take a postcolonial reading to it and you will see that Orientalism is at work here, as the character associates exactly the attributes to the woman that can only stem from an Orientalist point of view, like “I smell a thousand scents of the Orient, spices and perfumes, bodies and wood, sand and the sun.”. Furthermore, this aspect is even criticised in the story when it is said “[…] I want to listen to two thousand and two stories told by her.”, which aims at showing that still the stereotype of “1001 Arabian nights” is at play here, because although the amount of stories is doubled they are still limited, which shows a critical claim that the Occidental point of view is limited and doesn’t grant the woman of Oriental origin an unlimited number of stories. On the other hand, the story also shows a disappointment raised by the fact that the perception is shaped and therefore somehow limited to a certain extent, when in the end it is said that “And I will never know her stories. And she will never know that I wrote one about her.” after the two characters separate. So, it shows the sadness that those two characters and their perception of each other and of themselves will never be as close as they could have been.
This was just a little excerpt of the monologue, but I hope you can see what I mean.
Had there not been this critical comment, probably I would never have changed my perspective on the content that I myself created.
Because, to be honest, everything mentioned in this monologue had not been in my mind while creating this story, only after receiving the critical comment and when I started arguing and discussing my own work was it that I could read more into my own work and engage differently with it.
And today I’m glad that I didn’t delete it, and I’m thankful for that critical comment, because it opened my perception towards a new perspective.

It still didn’t make me want to create controversial content on purpose, but I think it helped me overcome the fear of putting something out there that might be controversial or have critical comments as a result.

It was a perfect example of inspiration through communication and I invite you all to think about it.
I invite you to overcome your fear of putting yourself or your work out there because someone might criticise it.
Critique can be a great chance to change perspectives, to see more, experience more, and it is an interaction between you and your audience, but also between you and your work.
I’m not saying “try to take sh*t from the naysayers as something good”, no, please don’t.
But if it is a constructive critical comment, don’t be afraid of engaging with it.

So long, my dears.
Be kind, spread the love.
Be creative. Be yourself.