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31.1.16

Editorial: Wait For Me

Remember this?






Wait for Me



An introspective on the once elusive benefits of taking things slow
courtesy of the therapeutic powers of the New Year...



Model
Eliska Votavova

Photographer
Sanni Saarelainen

Fashion editor
Karina So.



words by Karina



I'm not doing enough.

Words I recite to myself on a near daily basis these days. Once a subtle source of pride, sometimes I wish my inner overachiever would take a chill pill. And perhaps choke on it. Despite the fact that I should indeed know better, I still find myself sinking down the rabbit hole that is comparing myself to the everybody and anybody in the creative industry who appears to have their sh*t together on Instagram. Unfortunately being aware of the discipline, dedication, hard work and perseverance that goes into their work is what breeds the rather depressing sentiment that I am severely lacking on all counts, and some. Worse still, uselessly fanning the flames of grandiose ideas whilst the most austere of bank accounts breathes heavily over my shoulder and patronisingly dictates more of what is not possible than what is, with a laziness that now sees resourcefulness as a synonym for surrender whilst in the same breath surrendering to the inner conflict of one who once created solely for self in an age that virtually demands publicised self expression, does not a happy "aspiring creative director" make. But I can't help it: go big or go home, right?

Wrong.

Well, to an extent.

The little I have done, the "work" I am constantly ripping to shreds under the guise of necessary self-critique may even be worse than I realise, but it does at the very least mean one thing: I am trying. And all that effort can only lead to one thing: progress.

Yes, the pace isn't the most desirable - light-speed is always preferred - but it can't be entirely negligible. The sensible approach would perhaps be more along the lines of: if I'm passionate about it, enjoy it and it makes me happy, it shouldn't matter if I'm any good at it. But until that chill pill takes effect, I will never not laugh at the utter ridiculousness of that notion. Progress is vital, regardless of the end game. The "IMO" is implied.


I need to catch up.

My thought process is embarrassingly cyclic, to say the least but there is a caption-perfect saying circling the interwebs that finally appears to be resonating with me: trust the process. Much better than the "hashtag humble brag", wouldn't you agree?

While I try to avoid making excuses for myself because once I get started it's hard to stop using it for everything (e.g. "I can't come to class, it was that time of the month two weeks ago"), sometimes I forget that my twenty-four hour days are now split between being a cross-genre blawgher (albeit not a very good one), working in software development, starting a second job in hospitality and, of course, commuting - seriously, I could pull a J.K. Rowling and write a novel in the time it takes me to get everywhere. And prior to this, I was a Robotics student co-running two student societies, working as an academic rep, freelancing, volunteering and paying them bills with the odd job here and there... #humblebrag*? My pre-point-before-I-get-to-the-actual-point is, I kind of have my hands full and as a former twelve-hour sleeper (is it sad that I miss wasting my life away in bed?), it's still a bit of a lifestyle shock.

On to my point**, I may not be working as hard as my successful someday peers, but my process is exactly that: mine, and I have to trust that, as long as I do what I can as hard as I can whenever I can, I'll grow at a pace that suits me until I achieve 'the dream.' Usually at this point, the religious debate between fate and existentialism starts in my head, team Sartre and team christianity going back and forth until I eventually drop everything and eat my sorrows away [sidebar: I've found the best red salted chips in Manchester. Archie's excluded, of course because theirs are godly]. But perhaps there's a naive middle-ground somewhere? I don't know much about philosophy but I like to think that free will is fact. But sometimes a closed door or a 'missed' opportunity is God or the universe or whatever you believe in kindly letting you know that it wasn't the right time or the right move to help you contribute to whatever higher-purpose the human race is probably meant to serve. If that makes any sense.

I don't know what I'm doing.

Creative expression is not an easy process for most. In order for one's work to be honest and true, there are depths to one's self that need to be discovered and studied. To be understood, one must first understand. But when you lack training or guidance in your chosen medium, there are some universal truths, like that you will fall more times than you'd care to admit and your blind steps forward will be shaky and unsure. In an industry that is already oversaturated, success from that standpoint seems impossible at best, right from the jump. None of this sounds like my cup of tea.

But learning from mistakes aside, I think the fact that there are no real constructs to my learning process in the form of a syllabus or assignments, yes, limits my knowledge of the breadth and history of my chosen field but also provides me with the opportunity to experiment, colour outside the lines and try whatever tickles my fancy, organically discovering my "creative voice" with only myself to answer to. Every triumph, every failure, every moment will make sense later. Until then, I can always pull the "I'm only an enjuhneer, innit?" card and keep faking it till I make it.

Take this shoot with Sanni and the lovely Eliska, for example. We were desperate to squeeze a few more shoots in before Sanni moved to the Big Smoke (!) but we had no models, no clothes and nothing planned. A status update from Eliska on Sanni's Facebook timeline however, prompted her to show me a few of her photos. From her cropped dirty blonde hair to the dimple on her chin, Eliska was and is remarkable. After one of five-minute brainstorming sessions primarily made up of half sentences punctuated by an understanding "yes!" from the other party, Sanni and I quickly sent Eliska a message to see if she was free. Half an hour later, she was letting me rifle through the pieces she'd brought that suited the "classic, vintage" vibe I'd vaguely described while Sanni packed her gear because she "knew just the place", et voila!

I still see everything that's wrong with this first before anything else and cringe, but eventually I see the lessons. Creative freedom is priceless and I have that in abundance. Fashion photography may not be generous with anything else it affords me but I am working with what I have, even if it's the floppy hat on my head with rain drops that just add to the mood. And in order to do that consciously leaving as much room as possible for trial and error especially given my present two-job situation, I do have to take my time to ensure quality is a constant priority over quantity.

All I can hope is that you'll be patient with me as I do.

Credits

Model, make-up artist, hair stylist - Eliska Votavova
Stylist, photography assistant - yours truly
Photographer - Sanni Saarelainen
Creative direction - Sanni Saarelainen & yours truly

Outfit Credits

All clothing - model's own (Polish thrift stores)
Hat - stylist's own (H&M)

*I couldn't resist :)

**I really have to stop this.

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