As I share some photos, I’m also going to share some reflections and decisions I’ve been mulling over and making this last week that basically have nothing to do with the pictures, but whatever. We were off all week due to the flooding here, and once the rains and floodwaters subsided I was left with some time for photoshoots and wig vids (which I’ll post later), and along with that there was time for ridiculousness and drama of the non-work variety. Seems if it isn’t happening in one area of life, it’s happening in another, but I guess that’s the way goes.
Using Portrait Pro to change haircolor – it was really brunette in this photo
I counted up the years and realized I’ve been wearing and reviewing wigs for almost 6 years now. At times it feels like just yesterday that I started, and at other times it feels like I’ve been at this for a lifetime. I’ve gone through phases where I didn’t wear or buy them at all, and other times where my wig closet is overfull and I have to start unloading (like now). As some of you know, it was buying wigs that got me into photography. As I experienced buying them online and having them look so different on my head from the stock photos, I started using my ‘wig fails’ to make silly pictures of myself, just so the money wasn’t going to waste. Between making the videos and sharing my photos, I’ve developed a much more prominent online presence than I ever expected to have.
I mainly used a Topaz plug-in called ReStyle to change the tones to green in this shot; in the original my shirt was a dark olive green, the background was black, and the wig was brown.
That comes with a downside, of course, but for the most part I’ve learned to navigate that successfully, without too much chaos. I learned this from experience, and some of that experience was public, which means other people in the online wig community (which can get as vicious and contentious as your most misogynistic gaming community, trust me) know a bit of my history in that regard. So, from time to time, a fellow wig-wearer reaches out to me for help in navigating those choppy wig-waters when they first encounter them. In the past, I’ve tried my best to help people by sharing with them what I know, albeit cautiously, since I know how people who reach out to you online may not actually be the person they claim to be, and that they may in fact be one of the bullies digging for information on me instead of an individual in need of real advice (oh yeah, that happens. A lot).
This shot was from the same set as the green one above; so brown wig, olive green top, and black background originally.
But. After the latest round of advice-giving and hand-holding, I’ve realized that all I’m doing through these conversations is contributing to the chaos. Certainly, continuing to coach people through the craziness yanks me back into the drama I have otherwise removed from my life, but I’ve always considered that a decent price to pay if it helps someone else avoid some of the stress, fear, and confusion I went through. But last week I realized that doing this has just changed the target on my back rather than helping to heal or remove it. Because the people who reach out to me for help either really aren’t interested in removing themselves from the drama as much as they want to immerse themselves in it through hearing my story, or, they ask me a ton of questions to help clarify their own situation for themselves, then disappear once they’ve gotten whatever level of assistance they want only to never speak to me again (unless they need something else from me in relation to their problems, in which case they seek me out. Again). Either way, I end up getting used. So from now on – anyone who asks me even one question about what happened to me on YouTube, or how they should deal with it themselves, etc. is going to be ignored, completely. I’ve more than done my part as far as helping other people out, and I am done dealing with it or discussing it on any level. Let someone else play Dear Abby from now on, because I’m shutting down my advice column and moving on.
I liked the symmetry in this shot between my eyes, the sunglasses, and the butterfly
To the few of you who were truly there for me when I went through the mess I did and who are still around, of course, I thank you for it. There are a handful of you. But for the newer people who come sniffing around because you need either reassurance or to feed your gossip monster, good luck to you, because from this point forward you’re on your own. I am no longer a resource for any of that, so you will have to get your needs met elsewhere. I am now focusing on my needs instead – and my need in relation to all this drama is to speak of it no longer.
Another thing I noticed about myself as the little drama I got dragged into evolved last week was that I tend to stay hooked into this stuff through a need to control whether or not people get upset with me. In other words, it’s that ages-old society-perpetuated ladyproblem of trying to make certain everybody likes me. In the past, whenever someone came at me with a pissed-off attitude or accusation, I immediately went into panic mode and tried to soothe their troubled spirits, so none of that anger would come back to me and I would be safe from retribution, mean gossip, or shunning. Once I recognized my knee-jerk fear reaction for the weak and un-empowered BS that it was, I found it much easier to ignore the veiled threats, tell them to piss off, and be done. No wheedling and justifying and explaining to make sure that person didn’t go away from the exchange angry; just move on and let the chips fall where they may. I’m done with the whole bag of chips anyway, so let them do what they will with all the crumbs. Moving on.
A bright idea
So, photos. As I said, I had an entire week off last week, and even aside from that, April has had a lot of time off from school for me, so I finally got out of my photo slump and started shooting again.
As time goes by, I find the posing part of the process more and more tedious, but I still have little interest in taking photos of other people. Perhaps it is vanity; I know that the dressing up and playing with makeup part is something I enjoy, so there’s that. But I also don’t like working on a schedule (I like to just shoot when I get the impulse to do so), directing other people (which I’m not good at), or feeling obligated to work to someone else’s timeline or specifications. If I hold a session and then don’t feel like editing those shots for a month (which never happens but still, it could) then I want to be free to do that (or not do it, as the case might be). And if I like a certain photo from a shoot and want to edit that one, then I don’t want to be forced to edit some other shot because the model likes the way her hair looks in some other one, or thinks her eyes are too wonky in the shot I like. And I want to process the hell out of my shots without feeling guilty that I’m altering a face more than some other model might want me to do. So for now, it’s still about getting myself out of my posing slump and pushing through the boredom that sometimes comes with this way of doing things.
The nice thing is that if I start to feel stale in one area, I can make up for that in another. For awhile I got into playing with light. Then I went through a stage where buying vintage costumes was my obsession, and playing around with the clothes and taking full-length movement and motion shots took most of my time. Lately my inspiration has been buying new wigs, as well as using the Portrait Pro software (with which I’m still having a blast), and last week I started checking out and purchasing different backdrops for some variety. I’ve been using my white, black, and grey popup backgrounds a lot since discovering those a year ago, but when I started shooting video again last summer, I found that a solid background was less than ideal due to how much of the grain a solid backdrop reveals. I finally bit the bullet and bought a few mottled popups (they aren’t cheap) and for my videos, that’s really helped, but of course it also led to my wanting more backdrops in different colors. So yesterday, my shoot wase focused mainly on trying some of these new backdrops out.
On the left, a mottled backdrop that is in reality pink and grey; on the right is an ‘out of focus’ backdrop that’s supposed to be city-light bokeh
I also bought some new vintage clothes to play around with, and did some shots with those as well, but I haven’t had time to process as many of those. The stairs pic above is one set; I got that pink dress for about $14 off eBay; and the shots below are also using a vintage gown I bought last week. It’s been a long minute since I last took movement and motion shots so I was a bit out of practice, but my pets were there to save the day and help me out (as well as up the cuteness factor by 100).
So. Here’s hoping for a drama-free (and flood-free) week for everyone. Video reviews to follow!