Fashion, fashion photo, gender inequality, photo industry, Photography, shame series

Shame Series Pt 3: is my vagina stopping me from being successful?

I studied to be a photographer. meaning I actually went to a school, applied to be allowed to go there, went through a home exam and a couple of interviews, and then when I thought I would die they let me in and I cried and was happy and then went to school and went into debt, but we won’t talk about that. What we’re focusing on is that I actually went to school to learn how to take photos (and write coherently and do graphic design) because that’s how I wanted to make money.

I picked my job. I just didn’t know you needed a penis to do it.

BMG model Jenny shot on location in an Alley on the near South Side of Chicago by Faith Bowman. Styling by Jaqueline Witt.

I started studying in the late 90s, before digital so I actually had to go in the darkroom, develop film, print images etc. I was lucky enough to get internships at two major studios, the second one in the equipment room. I can actually set up and break down large amounts of photo equipment alone. Like, all by myself with nobody helping me. I can use cameras of varying sizes (35mm, medium format, 4×5) all by myself. I’m proud of this.

shot and styled by Faith Bowman

Unfortunately photography is not something that you do all by yourself all the time. At some point you have to work on a team and that means working with models, makeup artists, hair stylists, wardrobe stylists and photo assistants. Even without a client and editors, If the photographer and staff each have two assistants that’s 15 people on board.

model Cindy Loving shot by Faith Bowman

I’m pretty sure that I could handle that. I love bossing people around almost as much as I love taking pictures.

But I wonder sometimes, is my vagina stopping me from being successful?

BMG model Bryce shot at the Columbia College Chicago studios on medium format film by Faith Bowman who used a Hasselblad camera cuz she wanted crisp detail and because she is awesome.

I’ve assisted male photographers, and they don;t get treated the same. I mean, so yeah, you can’t flirt with me, but does that make me any less of a photographer? Ok, no I can’t date you, but am I less of a photographer? I once saw someone grab a male photographer I knew and beg to work with him. It’s ok if I was standing right there and had been building a realtionship with them in order to get work. I mean, don;t mind poor vagina having me when you can get a MAN.

Chicago entrepeneur Phil Tadros shot by Faith Bowman (on film no less)

I once assisted for a male photographer who did high fashion. I had to access and answer his email account and It was devastating. People offered him mansions to shoot in, tons of emails from models and stylists, and all of it was ‘you’re so amazing! let us give you money!!!’. I mean a lot of emails and emails from other mail photographers offering him help, looking to hang out, asking for advice…

At that point I wanted to have a sex change operation because my email box is tumbleweed city. At that time I was actively seeking work and promoting myself, and I got a job every so often. One year I made $5,00 and I considered that amazing. If I had a penis it would have been $5,000,000. I know it.

fetish model Chrystyne shot on location at the Sheffield Hotel in Chicago by Faith Bowman

But funnily, I don’t blame the guys. I know for a fact that a female makeup artists will get a man work before she’ll help a female photographer because I’ve seen it happen. A female editor or client will go with a male photographer. Why? Hormones. he’s cute, omg look at those eeeeyeeeesssss… and he’s hired. Me? let’s not go there, ok?. And men will hire men because they’re men and they can all hang out and be men together and look at nekkid models and ten marry them and have model babies.

Me? I’m sorry, but male models make me feel weird, like- you are not gonna be prettier than me. So it doesn’t quite work like that for me.

concept, lighting and photo by Faith Bowman

Now, I have good ideas- but I am a 5’2″ black woman who wears overalls to shoot in because I’d rather be ready to crawl on the floor adjusting cables or smoothing out backdrops than trying to look cute. I think my work is good, but I’m not paying me. I don’t flirt because, hello? I’m a stinking photographer and my photoshoot is not where I look for dates or husbands.

I am probably doing this all wrong.

Vex clothing hair choker, photography by Faith Bowman

I started blogging because it was a way to keep taking photos, even if I had to take them of myself. Through blogging I’ve learned how much I love product photography, which you can do all alone, and how much I love getting dressed up to go to events. I do squirm a little, thinking that I’ve sold myself out just so that I can get free lipstick and wrinkle cream. I do wonder why it’s so much more acceptable for me to be ‘stylish’ than to be a paid photographic creative. I’m taking pictures, but are they the pictures I set out to take all along? Did I do all that model casting, thinking, plotting, planning, lighting, location scouting, wardrobe styling, and fighting just to wear cute clothes and go to blogger events?

Jim Verraros photographed by Faith Bowman on location in Chicago 2004

I hear a lot about gender inequality in fashion, and I think that by hiring female imaging professionals (aka photographers) to shoot those fashion shoots and ads we can start closing the gap. I think more black editors should hire black female photographers for their magazines. I think female wardrobe stylists and makeup artists should recc their female photography associates and pass on jobs to them. I think gender and racial inequality can only be addressed when everyone, not just the men, are in there pitching whoever is best for the job.

If I’m that person, don’t go through my portfolio and earmark pics to show to a man to re-shoot them. Hire ME. And yeah, stuff like that happens, to men and women.

photo by Faith Bowman

I’m a good photographer. I’m not flashy about it and maybe I need to be. I don’t say other people suck (men will do that, and I hate it. “Oh, that guy sucks” just because you want the job), and I think I bring a lot to the table because I’m fun to work with but my main objective is to get the job done. I will do the art direction, creative direction, write the copy, do the styling, do the makeup, hold everyone’s hand, make sure they get fed, make sure we get the shot, make sure to clean it all up afterwards. Cuz I’m awesome, and because that’s what needs to be done.

Since everyone is out there screaming about inequality, I’m going to test the fashion and photo industries. I am going to put my portfolio together and I am going to get back out there and market myself like the guys taught me to. I will make 2016 my year to make it as a photographer in New York. I’m gonna go hustle and see what happens. Because if people are really about change, I should be the perfect person to hire. Right? We’ll see.

Check back in a year.

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian

*All photos by me. I took them. Yes- it was me.

Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle

I got this plant at Home Depot…


I got it home and started becoming obsessed with it…


I photograph it from every angle

20150824_073126 20150824_073223

Documenting new buds and new growth…


When a new bloom opened, I was right there.

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian


beach, cosmetics, Fashion, new york, ootd, personal style, seasonal activities, skincare, Summer, swimwear

The Meetup Adventure: in which someone finally RSVP’s for a meetup and we go to Coney Island


Summer is almost over and  came the day that I realized that what I wanted more than anything was to get a group together to go to the beach. I ended up with like, 1 person, but that’s enough. I just didn’t want to have to shift around all by myself. I did that once and it was ok, but it wasn’t amazing.

ci2At first I got all obsessed over what to wear- which freaked me out. I like blogging, but I’ve never been one to obsess over style. You wear what you like, put it together how you want and go. So I finally got over myself and put together what I consider the perfect beach outfit– tshirt and jorts. The t-shirt is my fave Victoria Bay one from Citizen Ciao ($28), the jorts are homemade. I wore this over my Ami Clubwear floral high-waisted retro bikini and finished off with my Cat Footwear Squander boots. The scarf was for my headwrap and the straw hat was for shade. Ready!

ci3Since I actually had to meet someone there, I opted for makeup, but I didn’t want to get crazy. I used Makeup Forever’s Aquamatics waterproof Glide-on Eyeshadow pencil in S-60 all over the eyelid and over the browbone. Then I highlighted the browbone with Aveda’s Petal Essence eyeshadow in  Golden Cypress. I smudged Makeup Forever’s Aquamatics waterproof Glide-on Eyeshadow pencil in Diamond Black around my eys for definition and finished off with Susan Posnick  ColorCoated mascara. Cheeks got a little Makeup Forever HD Blush, then I ran some Pro Bronze Fusion around key areas and finished my face with a deep plum lipgloss used as a stain. It doesn’t completely cover up a month of no sleep, but you do what you can.

I packed the beach bag with Australian Gold SPF 15 Lotion with Kona Bronzers, Red Door Spa Professional Olive & Mint Cooling Lotion, and Derma E Vitamin E Intensive Therapy Hand Cream. In hindsight I could have gone for a higher SPF but my other lotions leave white streaks and I was being vain. ci4I actually went to sleep and woke up on time, and got to Coney Island at my target time of 10 am. This beach trip was already working for me. I love how the rebuilt this station. isn’t it gorgeous?

ci5 Once my new meetup buddy arrived, we walked down to the boardwalk and I finally got my summer on. there is nothing like going to the beach, knowing that you have all day to chill and have fun. ci6And at 10 am on a Monday, it was a clear shot to a great spot by the water. ci8My meetup buddy was Logan Dobbs, who’s moved back to the city after finishing up his education in film and media out west. Like, way out west, as in Nebraska. We had a common bond since we both went to legendary specialized high school Brooklyn Tech and we’re both wanderers who don’t mind heading out into the great mysterious depths of these Unites States. ci9Thanks to Logan I have this most awesome pic of myself in my bikini. No I didn’t work the angles and yes, that is my August free for all poochy belly. I have to say this: I love how my body looks in this photo. It’s womanly, a little round n places but not sloppy. And my skin looks radiant.

Can I love myself anymore? No, not really.   ci8aThese pics are what my day at the beach felt like. I had my beach babe Dash of Flash temporary tattoos on wrist and ankle, and my sweet boho Kesh Beauty Hamsa bracelet with Swarovski crystal to ward off the evil eye and keep negativity from the best beach day ever. Since Logan was with me, I felt safe going in the water and I showed off some of my water aerobics moves. ci91I will also admit that Logan talked me into doing something that I would NOT have done on my own; ride this bigass rollercoaster. Like, really? No thank you!  ci92 Do you see this thing? Now I admit to being all brave for Slide the City at Summer Streets, but that was a straight shot down a water slide. That was no big deal. This was that thing where they rattle you around twists and turns and I could feel my tummy doing flip flops. ci93Yes. I rode this. It was $10 and when you get to the gate they’re like ‘give us your bag, glasses and flip flops’. Um…. ohhhhhkaaayyyy…. But I did it and lived. I felt as if every cell in my body had been shaken to it’s core and rearranged. I was shaky. I was…still alive. I didn’t regret it but I wasn’t going to volunter to do it again too quickly.  ci94

After that we wandered around and I took photos to share with you wonderful readers who may not live close enough to hop on a train.  ci95


ci97 Everyone loves the Wonder Wheel, a Coney Island institution. ci98

It wasn’t until I got home that I opened this map and found out that we were steps away from White Castle, which would have been the ultimate beach hangout destination. Next time I know better! Read a map! Luna Park/Coney Island isn’t huge, but it’s densely packed with stuff to do, eat, ride and see.

Here’s what I want you guys to do: take a day to relish the end of summer. Go to the beach or lake. landlocked? Find an open field. An ocean of grass and flowers is just as good. Go outside and have some fun. Go do you all day without hesitation or shame. I strongly recommend it!

Next up: Shame Series Pt 3: is my vagina stopping me from being successful?

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian

culture, discounts, free stuff, id card, new york, ny residents id card, residents only card

in which we get an IDNYC card, which is the gateway to cultural acceptance all across NY

So, just in case you didn’t know? There’s a thing called the IDNYC card. Any New York City resident (although, I live in Brooklyn and you can get it if you live in Queens) has the right and is entitled to apply for this card free of charge until 12/31/2015. At first I thought it was all about illegal immigrants- but anyone, regardless of housing status or income level can apply.

Why should you, though?

Because you get free stuff. Like…memberships to places like BAM or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and that’s worth millions because you can get invited to cultural events not open to the general public. No more pay as you go! Straight to the member line!idnyc1

First off, you need to make an appointment to go and apply. You can pick up the application anytime? But you can’t just go in and get the ID card. I didn’t know that and was kind of miffed. So just to save you guys time and energy, call 311 or go to this site and go through the process. It’s not that hard and you can get next day appointments if you’re in a hurry. idnyc2

You can fill out your IDNYC application at your appointment site, but I decided to make sure I had my application filled out beforehand. It’s the usual info, nothing too crazy. Simpler than getting a passport, actually.  idnyc3

Speaking of passports (and birth certificates and non-driver ID cards) make sure you have at least two pieces of ID and one has to have a photo. Passport trumps many other forms, so if you have one find it and take it with you. You also need proof of address: a lease, Con Ed bill, homeless letter, whatever, bring it in. Make sure to get to your appointment a little early, just in case people cancel and you can get moved up. Bring patience.   idnyc4They told me that it would take three weeks, but I actually got the card in a week’s time. You get the card, which is nice and official looking, and a brochure telling you what it entitles you to. It is NOT a card to take down to welfare and try to apply. It does NOT replace an official state ID. BUT you can use it to pen an account at select banks and get a discount on prescriptions. You can use it to get discounts on movie tickets, too.


I actually applied to BAM and got my membership packet within two weeks. I used my membership to get discount tickets to see Evil Dead, a cult classic horror movie that I love. $7 movie tickets! The concessions were full price though. But that’s still less than a regular theater, and it was nicer, too.


Next week I’m going to a members only cocktail party at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and I’m looking forward to applying for as many free memberships as possible. If you live in the tri-borough area, you should definitely get your IDNYC card as soon as possible. Remember that they are only free until December 31st, 2015! After that you have to pay.

Don’t get left out!

Next up: A trip to legendary Coney Island

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian

biking, exercise, food, health, new york

in which we go to Queens, get lost, and then spend an hour riding with Bike NY

I was actually going to save this post, since I just told you about going biking, but I figured- what the hell! Let’s just do it!


The other two outings were Learning To Ride ( Adults) and Bicycling Basics– this was the payoff.


First off, I’ve never been out this far in Queens and I bitched up the directions and got lost. I had to ask a policeman or crossing guard or something. He had a uniform, so I asked him. After a lot of headscratching, we finally figured out where I was going and I set off.

The upside is that I know how to get to a Mets game now, so that’s something.  bny4

When I got there, everyone was still practicing. Lucky! The got me a bike and I joined the class- only an hour late.  bny5

part of the reason that I was late was because I couldn’t sleep. This is the face of a woman who had no sleep. I was still so keyed up from Summer Streets and the Slide the City that I stayed up all night. That helmet isn’t just protecting my brain; it’s holding it in place. When I got ready to leave I was so flustered that I just threw the Clif Bar & Perky Jerky and Vitacoco from Summer streets in my knapsack with the DOT helmet and ran out the door.

Outfit? Oldass sweatshirt and my usual LL Bean jeans. I could not get it together at all. I’m lucky I was clean. bny6

After everyone finished practicing riding around curves, scanning and signalling, Douglas (our volunteer instructor) took ous out into Corona Park proper to ride. We stopped a few times, but I only remembered to take my cameraphone out once. I was too busy relishing the fact that I was riding. I was also trying to keep up with Douglass. I was in the top four riders in the class every time we stopped to rest and the top four fastest riders in the class were all women.  bny7

I made it back to our starting point first- remembering to signal a right turn as I slid into the last curve. I made sure to set my Samsung GearFit this time. I only forgot during one stretch, so I think we actually covered more ground? I just had my GearFit on pause because we were waiting for people to catch up and I forgot to restart it for awhile. But 4.32 miles to someone who couldn’t ride at all at the beginning of the summer is nothing to sneeze at.  bny8

As I trudged back to the train station, I remembered the mall I had seen on the way to the park. I had eaten all my samples and I was still hungry. I figured there must be something to eat in there, and it turned out that what I wanted was visible as soon as I walked through the door. I needed ice cream in my life.

I couldn’t even decide what to get, I was so hot and sweaty that I wanted to just stick my face in a tub of anything and gorge. I settled on a shake. A birthday cake and lemon shake to be exact.


I would literally be willing to get up and take the train all the way out to Queens to go to Sky View Mall  just to have another shake like this. Hershey’s I ce Cream, I love you.


Now I was happy and whatnot. I bopped along drinking my shake and loving life and noticed that I could see the globe from the World’s Fair- so now I know where that is, but that’s another adventure entirely.

Next up: How to get an IDNYC card and why you should get that before 12/31

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian


Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today Was a Good Day #summerstreetsgallery

I already wrote the blog post– but for sheer adventure, the day I rode Slide the City can’t be beat. I didn’t use mesh- if that becomes mandatory, ok. Until then I have too many apps on my phone.

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian

art, bloggers, diy, Fashion, feature, home decorating, publicity

We are in Links a la Mode! Featuring my interview Ed Roth of Stencil 1 #wesofamous

Links à la Mode, August 20


I’m blaming it on the moon.  

IFB Bloggers shared a near excessive amount of posts on mixed drink recipes and personal recipes for turning a frown upside down.  And kind of like the chicken and the egg debate, I’m not sure which came first.  There were also two good posts about putting fashion in perspective and not letting it become something we’re not and it’s not.

As always, a round up would not be complete without an assortment of trend and design details, along with beauty and personal style introspectives.

I also absolutely loved that two bloggers, male and female, posted the same bleu look.  A collaboration may be in order.