Normally I don’t model for my own photographs as the self timer and my mild awkwardness in front of the camera doesn’t offer me a lot of freedom. However, this morning I had blow dried my hair out and figured it would be a loss not to capture it for the world (or a very small portion of the world) to see.
Prom Queen is a funny, little series, and I honestly was just messing around when I was taking these pictures, but afterwards I realized something: I spent a fair portion of my middle school and high school career trying to feel beautiful, and to feel this way I looked towards makeup, towards hair, towards showing my body off in such a way that someone else’s gaze would somehow justify that I am beautiful. As I got more into photography my junior and senior year (I’m still currently a senior, I’ve just been out for a couple weeks as I’m on an internship) I stopped taking a lot of pictures of myself. Today, I feel the most beautiful when I’m taking pictures, because, in this way, I have the ability to make anything beautiful, to tell the world “hey look at this!”.
A lot of photographers bank off pretty models, hot models, perfectly feminine models to get likes. Some guys from my school follow my photography account, and I do take notice about who unfollows me after I post a certain picture that I or the model doesn’t look generically “beautiful”. But it’s not my job as the photographer to make anybody look appealing, it’s not a model’s job to look a certain way. People are supposed to look like people and photographs are supposed to tell stories.
My photographs have always been taken with a feminist lens, but recently I’ve been throwing a little “I don’t give a fuck” twist, and I truly believe that everyone benefits from adding a little bit of that into their lives. Do things for you: dress for you, act for you, and just be your fucking self, you’re pretty cool. And, remember, there is an ART to turning off men.
On that note: Thrift! Thrift! Thrift! Join the #fashionrevolution and refuse to buy from brands that exploit their workers.