analogue is definitely (not) dead
A few Autumns ago (about 5) I attended a pop-up boutique in SoHo, for an "Instagram Blogger iPhone-Photography Workshop Meet n' Greet" (say that ten time fast!). The event was hosted by an Instagram famous (a very real thing) lifestyle blogger (also a real thing).
I was personally attending to stay ahead of the curve within the escort world...I wanted to better curate my branding image and finesse my grade A+ flesh flicks.
But let me backup a little...
There are a few points I want to make about the timing of this event, so to set up the scene:
1.) This "Instagram photo workshop" took place moments before Instagram blew up to what it is today; where social media as a whole (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook...et el) has become it's own economic force.
2.) This was also years before "Sex Work Twitter" had evolved into this flirty, supportive and political space it is today. This workshop happened before sex workers were revolutionizing the industry like we've seen in the last couple years; finding new ways to reinvent the wheel and conduct our businesses safely and with style and impressive professional prowess. The branding collaborations, monthly shoots, flying our professional photographers around the world with us. All these business savvy broads with brazen enterprising ingenuity...changin' the game and selling media content via membership pledging on websites like Patreon and Snapchat.
3.) Lastly, keeping in mind that while the world moves at an alarming pace, and this "iPhone photograhy workshop" was only a few years ago...it was no less in the 5th generation iPhone era. This is the most important point, because back then only the skilled and patient took truly beautiful professional-grade smartphone photos...because the cameras in our devices at the time might as well have been those in the ancient flip-phones of yesteryear. Late 2014 was a Paleolithic era for camera phones, comparatively speaking.
Ergo, this workshop.
This gig was supposed to have been a skill share event; iPhone hacks and lesser known editing apps, and clever tricks for capturing the best most professional photos; when to utilize natural lighting, quick how-to's for professional editing etc. When in actuality, the whole 2 hour shindig was a clique of wasps; a "who's who" made up of entirely other Instagram-famous bloggers.
Without a doubt, I was the only poor slob without tens of thousands (and in a couple cases, hundreds of thousands) of followers . None of these people had met before, though everyone recognized and gushed at each other referring to one another by their IG handles vs. their actual names...
"You're @TheHautePursuit?! I just have to say, your most recent trip to Hong Kong, OH MY GAWD...the shots you posted from your helicopter ride across city and landing on the helipad of the Peninsula Hotel at sunset?!?! so intense. so bold. wow. just wow" ....everyone in room knowingly and excitedly coos in unison (meanwhile, I'm both rolling my eyes yet sheepishly and furiously scrolling her IG feed to locate the aforementioned photos!).
The whole thing was a bit surreal and laughable because no one there, save present company, actually neededany iPhone hacks or visionary photo tips to help them perfect their IG pages. All these workshop attendees seemed to have it pretty figured out. Most of them already sponsored by luxury brands to take photos: traveling in, staying at and eating/wearing/using products on their Instagram accounts. These quasi-photographers were just there to schmooze and ride each other's proverbial dicks.
As out of touch as this workshop was appearing to be, I was no less eager to be there because I realized I was surrounded by people who had created strong personal brands, not unlike my own. I was there to network and learn something I didn't already have in my business arsenal - a bitchin' escort Instagram.
I may be a woman sensitive to nuance, but that day I couldn't read the room for shit. At one point, during a demonstration of the (then new) VSCO CAM editing app..and for reasons I can't quite recall, I raised my hand to ask a question and identified myself as a luxury travel companion (read: I have good taste too, I travel the world too...I belong at this workshop too, validate me goddamnit!). I wanted to know how the IG blogger host was able to capture such clean, rich yet desaturated photos from inside restaurants.
Visibly perturbed by the question resulting from my simple-minded peasantry....she dismissively replied: "The restaurant would have known I am coming already. They would have reserved one of the better window tables for me. But if the natural lighting is still distorted by the dining room lights, I just ask the manager to turn the overheard house lights off, while I get my shots"
I think my mouth must have dropped open a little...What kind of monster?! "um? oh. okay, yeah. I'll have to try that...sometime. thanks" I replied dryly. While I found this answer to be A.) not helpful and B.) unrealistic and obnoxiously self important....the whole room C.) resounded of mumbled praise at this woman's apparent brass-balls to inconvenience an entire dining room of patrons so she can get a (admittedly perfect) photo of her linguine con le vongole.
Scowling, I decided I hated them all.
In the end the workshop was only mildly educational. I got to thinking about it the other day though as I was reading about the Japanese phone company Huawei having just released their newest with dual lense Leica cameratechnologyin it! Now, I may be a self professed neo-luddite, but I can't front; technology in the 2010's is pretty incredible. Did any of us imagine that someday we would all have a tiny intelligent cameras glued to our hands at all times? Some world we live in.
That being said, I am happy to have a "camera" with me all the time.
What I admire about photography is in order to get the shot, to tell the story of that moment; you have to be intimately inside the scene...yet removed to a certain degree emotionally. I like that dance. I've stood in the same spot down side streets in bustling cities of 2nd world countries, in crowded museums and art galleries, out in nature watching wild animals....waiting patiently for 10, 20, 45minutes, longer! Standing steady and stubborn until the exact moment “it” happens. The scene happens. The set up. Until the moment the shot presents itself. Not knowing what you're waiting for but recognizing it when you see it....
The unexpected dapper outfit strolling by and happens to pause to light his cigarette; perfectly framed beneath a colossal doorway in Paris.
Trying to get an action-shot of Nepalese children running, but instead what happens is capturing hundreds of pigeons mid-flight off a Buddhist temple in Kathmandu. Unabashedly ogling the group of half-naked men in their Brazilian speedos playing fut on the beach....and snapping the exact moment the soccer ball having been bounced off some stud's chest - blocks out the afternoon sun like an eclipse....making everything in frame, a vibrant silhouette.
That's it! that's the shot! *iphone shutter click noise*
In High School I took a photography class, admittedly just so my boyfriend and I could feel each other up in the darkroom. Next to lunch hour (where we felt each other up by the lockers) it was my favourite class. Though in all sincerity I don't remember much from horny 4th period photography (more like anatomy class, amirite?) So While I might be handy with an iPhone, I still don't know the first thing about digital or analog photography....though I'd like to!
The more I travel, and the longer I stay in this luscious industry which presents some rather surreal opportunities from time to time, it has me wanting to learn how to use a manual camera. I feel obligated to be documenting these moments of my life, these experiences, the blessing of being in a career that brings me all over the world to meet such fascinating persons.
In the extremely "high tech, high touch" world we live in now...there's something very attractive about doing things with our hands again. *insert flirty innuendo about how well I use my hands*.
here are the four cameras I am dying to learn photography and videography on:
1.) MAMIYA RZ-67 PRO D MEDIUM FORMAT
2.) IMPOSSIBLE L-1 INSTANT CAMERA
3.) CHINON BELLAMI HD SUPER 8 DIGITAL CAM CORDER
4.) LEICA M (TYPE 240)