Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

Shameless Photography needs your help.

February 3, 2010

Are you willing to donate something to the cause of body-positive, radically fun pinup photography?

Calling all those lovely garments that have spent years languishing in the closet, just dying for stardom — this is their chance to shine.

Shameless Photography wants you to become part of the new all-star, all-size Shameless pinup wardrobe!  Think of all those neglected yet fabulous garments in your wardrobe — give me your ripped seams, your broken zippers, your loose hems yearning to breathe free!

They will be lovingly restored and brought back to life. A call for all those dresses, skirts, blouses, and, yes, lingerie that never fit quite right but you had to bring home because it was so pretty.

Calling all those heels, bathing suits, stockings, and accessories that would like to become part of something larger than themselves.

By popular need/demand, I’m trying to build a wardrobe for my clients of all sizes — and I can’t do it without your help.  I’m looking for clothes and lingerie to fit and flatter everyone. Some of the items on my wish list are: vintage dresses, full skirts, pencil skirts, low-cut shirts and dresses, bustiers, corsets, shrugs, fur or faux fur, polka dots, bra and panty sets.  Vintage clothes or clothes with a retro feel are best, but I can also alter garments to make them more vintage-looking.

I have a lot of shoots coming up, so time is of the essence.  Please email me at shamelessphotography@gmail.com.  If you’re in New York, I would be happy to come to your apartment and pick up any donations, or if you are willing to bring them to an event we’re both attending, that would be amazing.  If you are farther away, I’ll pay your postage.

Thank you in advance for your help.  PLEASE FORWARD THIS WIDELY!  The more is definitely the merrier.

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Shameless.

December 1, 2009

My new flyer for Shameless Photography, my pinup makeover and portraiture business:

Taking the leap.

November 25, 2009

“We work to become, not to acquire.” — Elbert Hubbard

“Work and love are the cornerstones of our humanness.” — Sigmund Freud

“It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction.” — Pablo Picasso

When I graduated from college five years ago, I wanted a good job. I was passionate, ambitious, and idealistic, and I was dedicated to making a difference. But how do people actually produce real and lasting change in the world?

When I accepted my first non-profit job, I was thrilled. I joined a young policy institute with a talented, devoted, and collaborative staff. The organization’s leadership was fantastic, its projects were important, and I was given many opportunities to learn and grow. I was promoted from intern to director in three years, and was handed increasingly challenging and significant projects.

So why wasn’t I happy? Before, I’d worked mind-numbing corporate or factory jobs, so discontent made sense. How could I be chafing against working for good?

Scary question. Was I just lazy? Did I lack integrity? Was I destined to disappoint and flounder, to never really contribute?

The answer I finally arrived at required a leap of faith: I needed to trust myself enough to believe that I wasn’t the problem. I simply hadn’t yet found the right work for me.

When I finally gave notice, my co-workers were bewildered. When people left my organization, they usually went on to grander things — law school, public office, leadership positions with other organizations. But I was plan-less. Without plan.

The day after I left work for good, I packed my bags and hit the road, traveling from Brooklyn to Asheville to Austin to San Francisco and back again, worrying about exhausting my savings but knowing I needed to move.

I could live anywhere, I thought. I could be anyone.

Choice is a powerful thing.

And my natural frugality was further terrorized when I made the decision to buy a camera. Not some chintzy point-and-shoot job, mind you. A real camera, a Nikon, gleaming and black and fragile and powerful. I fell passionately in love.

My way of seeing began to change almost immediately. I would think That’s a good shot, at least three times a day. Then ten. Then thirty. It was as if a frame had appeared in my view. Everywhere I looked, I could move the frame up or down, from side to side, and see things differently.

I returned to Brooklyn with a plan. Shameless Photography!  This is my mission statement:

In a culture where we’re constantly bombarded by images, messages, and standards designed to make us feel inadequate and insecure about our faces and our bodies, I aim to create a space where women can feel safe, beautiful, and empowered. Using makeup, lighting, and photography, I create images that are part fantasy, part reality — and entirely gorgeous.

To become a fantasy — and to know that you can do so whenever you want — is a powerful thing. No billboard model, no advertising agency can own the realm of fantasy — we all do.

In some small way, I hope that my photos can help women feel more empowered and more embodied — and to see our femininity as a space of play, pleasure, and possibility, rather than one of shame.

It’s only been a couple of months since I set up shop, and I’m still working to spread the word and get my fledgling business off the ground. But I can honestly say that I’m happier than I’ve been in years. I think about my work all the time, with passion and excitement and drive. I’ve never felt this way before — never has work been such an effortless, animal pleasure. I find myself staying up till 4 a.m. with only Photoshop to keep me company — and loving it.

Money will be tight, but I’m doing something I believe in, something that challenges me, feeds me, frees me. If the supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play, I think I’m beginning to do just that.

On Skittles and consumer consciousness.

April 20, 2009

It was the day after tax day and I was in need of a good sugar high.  I was just about to tear into a package of the new “Crazy Core” Skittles when I remembered: Taste the rainbow.

My experiment this month — to not purchase anything I’ve ever seen advertised — is proving to be rather galling.  A large proportion of the products I routinely buy — everything from toothpaste to facial cleanser to toilet paper — I have seen advertised.  Seriously, try to find a single brand of deodorant you haven’t seen promoted, pushed, and propagandized!

In resisting the siren song of Victoria’s Secret sales (30% off any item — why now?!), I debated whether my experiment covered only the specific items I’d seen advertised (i.e. the Perfect One™ bra) or the entire brand.  Ultimately, though, I knew that every advertisement creates an image of both the particular product and the company as a whole, so I decided that if want to do this thing right, I will to have to avoid the whole shebang (or shebrand).  Sadly, this eliminates many of my clothing shopping options — perhaps I should look into some creative alternatives such as the one shown here?

skittles-prom3

An experiment.

April 15, 2009
Dentyne does its part to fuck with the minds of Millenials.

Dentyne, doing its part to fuck with the minds of Millennials.

I was sitting on the subway this morning, once again trying to ignore the advertisements for beer (you’ll be sexy if you drink this), candy (you’ll have more fun if you eat this), and gum (you’ll be less lonely if you chew this), when I decided my project for the month:

I will attempt to not purchase anything I have ever seen advertised.

One tricky part will be trying to remember what I’ve seen advertisements for and what I haven’t.  After all, Advertising is everywhere.  Ads on television.  Ads on the radio.  Ads flooding your mailbox.  Ads in magazines and journals and newspapers.  Ads on billboards above roads and factories and empty fields.  Ads painted onto the sides of skyscrapers.  Ads dancing and blinking and popping up and invading every corner of the internet.

But even if I don’t succeed at the task, I think the process will help me gain awareness of what I purchase and what goes into each decision.  I don’t really believe that pure freedom exists in consumer societies, but I do think that we can create room for awareness and defiance.  That is the goal of my little experiment.

Creative defiance.

December 15, 2008

In honor of the holiday season and the upcoming opportunity to make good in the New Year, I wanted to share a few ideas for how to perform femininity and defy consumerism in one fell swoop — and to invite you to post some your own.

Make it yourself. Consumerism depresses creativity. We have thousands upon thousands of options, but product has been dissociated from process. I invite you, dear readers, to exercise your creative capacities. What would you be wearing right now if you let your imagination replace the images advertising has fed you? What colors and textures and shapes would you use? What could you communicate about who you are, how you feel, what’s important to you?

Whatever your skill level, it’s worth trying your hand at sewing clothing, making jewelry, knitting & crocheting, even mixing makeup from scratch. You’re capable of more than you think. Instructables and wikihow are terrific resources to get the creative juices flowing. And if you really prefer to leave the seam stitching to someone else, consider arranging a trade with a friend in need of your particular skills. Homemade dress for tax completion, anyone?

Recycle. I’m big on donating used clothing to thrift shops (especially for a good cause, like Housing Works here in New York), but I also love me a good clothing swap party. So get together some friends and let the fashion remix begin. I’m also known for slicing and splicing old dresses and tying tees into tube tops, although I have to admit the results vary (sadly my local library doesn’t carry this book). An awesome project (and present-making goldmine) is silk screening onto old skirts, skirts, and choice undergarments. Check out this great tutorial (sorry, no undergarments pictured, folks).

Invent and innovate. Got flowers (real or faux)? Wear ‘em on the lapel of your pea coat or pin those babies in your lovely locks. And, ooo honey, that scarf over there was meant to be a wrap-around skirt. There are most likely things all over your house that could be transformed into femme fashion. A friend of mine recently told me that she’s planning to makpink-sewinge a dress from some old curtains (see dramatic pre-enactment). For my part, I have some orphaned earrings that could come together as a fabulous charm bracelet.

Mix and match. I know you haven’t worn that gray dress in ages, but what if you paired it with this red patent belt? The billowing silk blouse in the back of the closet is dying to meet your hot pink pencil skirt. And have you tried your sensible black slacks with that abandoned pair of periwinkle stilettos? My point is, you handpicked every garment that’s hanging in your closet right now. Isn’t taking a new look at your fabulous finds of yesterday a better bet than picking your way through the clothing racks downtown?

Hope these ideas are helpful. It’s an ongoing, yet welcome, challenge for me to think about consumerism through the lens of high femme, and vice versa. I’d love to hear your thoughts and share strategies on how to ensure we can play with gender without playing into the very systems we hope to question. I welcome anyone with self-fashioned items to show and tell — I’ll gladly post your inspirational examples.