This week's FBFF questions are about 'authenticity' and I have chosen to illustrate my post with more self portraits from Joshua Tree, in California. While most shots from that time were taken by me, with my tripod and a timer, I can tell that these were taken when the then-boyfriend went with me. Why? Because, artist/perfectionist that I am, I would usually focus on a spot - say, put my shoe on that spot - then replace it with myself (that's why I shot myself: I knew no friend would be that patient).
I can tell the ex shot these, because I'm out of focus. And I manipulated these in photoshop - thus making them 'unauthentic' photographs - about four years ago (pre-blog, basically).
Thank you to Katy Rose of Modly Chic: I haven't read her post yet - I like to do my answers before I read anyone else's - but you'll find her post here. And my title is a reference to an 80s disco song that they played on the S&tC episode when Carrie tripped on the runway ('little acts of bravery') and now I can't get it out of my head. Again.
1. Most readers and fellow fashion bloggers value authenticity in the blogs they read. How would you describe blog/blogger authenticity?
Great question. I've been thinking about this all week. I can't describe it: it's just a feeling. I only know when someone isn't being authentic. I can think of some of the more 'famous' style bloggers : even before I met them, I could just tell that they weren't as nice, or modest, or cutesy, or whatever personna they were trying to be, and meeting them confirmed my suspicions. Conversely, more often, I've met style bloggers, especially some really popular self style bloggers, (FrouFrou, for example) who seem more austere and intimidating and are in reality just the sweetest, bubbly, generous spirited, modest, girly girls. In fact FrouFrou and I were talking about that this week, over lunch: how you do, as a blogger, tend to take on a persona that sometimes is a slight variation of your real self. It's like with an actress playing a role. There's an element of you in it, but it's not exactly you. Your blog persona can kind of take on a life of its own.
And sometimes the person you meet is exactly what they claim on the tin.
I'd say that every blog that I love - and there are so, so many - I am relating to the person behind it for being 'real'. It's the same criteria of authenticity/honesty that determines how I relate to people in my real life.
2. When it comes to your blog how to you infuse it with that true/authentic feeling?
It's simple: in my blog, as in my life, I find it easier to be honest and, ugh I so hate this cliche, 'be myself'. Whatever myself is.
Actually, that's the reason that my art, pre blog, was what I called 'self portraits', what is now called 'self style'. I had no clue who I was - and I still don't - but my challenge as an artist was, and still is, to try to peel off the layers - to take off the mask.
So for me it's about being honest, being vulnerable: when I'm having a tough time, I try to focus on the positive, but like this week for example, when I can't act perky, I find it easier to just admit I'm having a crap day.
Believe me: if I could find a way to lie without giving myself away, or come across as someone different, 'better', than I am, I'd do it. I just find that being honest, 'authentic', in my posts or in my real life, is easier: there's less to keep track of. Tangled web, and all that.
3. Have you stopped following a blog in the last three months? What made you lose interest?
If you mean 'unfollow', no. I just don't get to visit all the blogs I love - again, time factor - but over the two years that I've been blogging and reading others' blogs, yes, that handful of 'famous' ones, absolutely what made me lose interest was that realisation - which happened pretty quickly - that they were showing off, pretending to be modest when they actually possessed huge egos, and disguising it as 'oh lucky me, I just happened to be invited to Paris.' For me blogging is about community and friendship, and I have no interest in hero (or, heroine) worship, or in being anyone's fan base.
4. We can't communicate effectively on our blogs, something we don't live in real life... what are some ways you try to live an authentic life?
See above. ; )
5. Give a shout-out... Which bloggers do you think are truly genuine and why?
Oh, so many.. there are the ones who I sense are genuine but haven't yet met (everyone on my 'friends' blog roll) and anyone who I've met and am friends with in real life, I can see from their blogs that they're doing what I'm doing: posting their 'truth' without using their blogs as emotional dumping grounds. After all, that's what spouses and friends and family are for ; )
The most genuine real life blog friends I know are.. Oh really I can't choose even three top ones. I don't want to leave anyone out. Everyone on my top few blog rolls. Stephanie (Style Odyssey) and Sabine ('Psynopsis') - both of whom I've met and are closer to my real age- spring to mind first. And of course, the usual suspects, and you know who you are.
But of the bloggers I haven't met, there is one who tops the list for me. I don't know her real name. I have never seen a photo of her face. She doesn't often write much, but what she writes feels absolutely authentic, from the heart. She has a strong sense of humanity, and compassion. But most of all, she speaks her truth through her art, and her heart: her compelling, incredibly moving photos. She is The Photodiarist, and I feel she sets the bar for me, as a photographer, and as a real human being.