I have not had one minute to spare the last few weeks. It’s super easy to get jobs in New York right now, and I managed to go from my fashion internship, to a temporary summer job to a regular (part-time) job and a freelance job doing visual merchandising and events. So for the first time in my adult life, I have two jobs.
I’m still shocked.
Over the course of the last month I got to use what I learned from umpteen retail jobs, visual merchandising class and my brief showroom experience to merchandise and dress mannequins. The best part is that I have already made back the money that I spent on the class.The worst part is knowing that I could have been doing this all along, if I hadn’t been so obsessed with making it as a photographer. I feel like I wasted a lot of time and caused myself a lot of suffering and unhappiness when I could have been working, building up my savings, gaining experience and making friends. And then I could still have branched out into styling and then photography.
Hindsight is a bitch.
The funny thing is that when I first set out to go to college, I did want to do visual merchandising and this or that happened and I got sidetracked and then jumped into photography. Had I known how sexist and racist that industry was, I would have saved my efforts and put them into something that would have benefited me a lot more. My life would have been completely different. I bet my student loans would be paid off, too.
I don’t love makeup, but I’m ok with wearing it. It’s more of a toy than a necessity, but if I buy anything I want it to be the best quality so that I can feel comfortable and confident while I have it on. If anything I want to forget it’s there and just go about my business. I had a birthday/rebranding photo shoot in May so of course I had to exercise the credit card at Sephora to update my makeup wardrobe. I wanted to amp it up for a sunkissed basic beat that put a frosted gloss on my usual naked face. It’s not perfect, but it was different.
It started with a change of eye color. While I was researching and watching makeup tutorials, I noticed that people were changing eye color like shoes. I felt like making a bold statement so I went for these Polar Ice Grey lenses that help show off the curves of my eye and make a striking contrast with my skin. It’s not better than my brown eyes, and it’s not worse, it’s just different. Also cheap, they were about $25 with free shipping. Get a 10% discount off your own TTD Eye lenses using this link. Use the code SEBMARKETBKEYES at checkout.
I spent a month making sure I drank enough water, washing my face with Cetaphil and doing a weekly homemade bentonite clay mudmask. The day of the shoot I woke up early, took a long bath and gave myself a hydrating facial (they stopped making this mask and I only have one more left. I’m devastated.), then put these Tarte eye bag masks on while I toweled off and put lotion on my body. Once I had brushed my teeth and everything I applied Ancient Cosmetics Even Skin face cream. I use this cream morning and night, and I love how it just melts right into the skin without leaving a greasy feel.
This is how this goes- I put a little of the Smashbox blurring primer in my palm and then I pump a little MUF HD foundation on top. I swirl it together with the beauty blender and then pat onto my skin. I use BlackUp concealer under my eyes and this Kat Von D powder to set the whole thing. I am not a contour person at all. I feel kind of annoyed at doing this much to begin with. If contouring became mandatory I’d prob just throw all this stuff in the garbage.
I mean this.
I am a sucker for neutrals, nudes and shimmery metallic sparkles. I’m trying to break out of it? But if I see something like the Natasha Denona mini star palette in this photo I’m incapable of not buying it. I love how rich and pigmented the colors are. I could do stuff like carve out the eyelid with this. The other palette is from a drugstore brand, Black Radiance. Not the greatest, but I think I’ll try wetting the brush before using these colors. I got this Fenty highlighter along with a mini lipgloss. I’m still practicing highlighting techniques. I need to blend more and I have a tendency to forget.
Once I got the eyeshadow situation sorted I had to finish the job. I use Anastasia brow pomade (previous pic), and today I went with eyeliner pen because I felt like a sharp outline was the best way to go. As you can see from this tube of eyelash glue, eyelashes are not my strong point. Normally I just use a lengthening mascara.
Buy this: Pat McGrath Lust Trance lipgloss in Bronze Divinity, $28. I love this lipgloss. LOVE. IT. It smells delicious and the shine is high fashion gloss without being sticky. It’s a substantial size, and the wand makes you want to stand in the mirror just gently putting on more and more candy smelling gloss while looking deeply into your own eyes. The smaller pencil is lipliner and I think I put the black eyeliner in the photo by mistake, forgetting that I was supposed to shoot my concealer.
What do you do to get ready for a big day? Do you find yourself obsessing over every little detail or do you just sleep like a baby? Do you lay out everything you’ll need before you go to bed or just get up and do whatever comes in your head? I’m usually paralyzed with anxiety the day before I do anything, thinking of all that could go wrong or how I might get laughed at.
It usually ends up fine, but even if things go horribly wrong I know I did my best and that’s all that anyone can reasonably ask from me.
See you next time!
Faith/SEB Market BK
Shop my look:
Upcycled grunge plaid shirt
Customized Mossimo Athletic Fit plaid button down shirt hand treated with bleach. Unisex. Decorated with stars, studs, and bleach treated denim stripe, then bleached again. Denim panel is hand painted. Soft, 100% cotton and machine washable.
Measures 30 inches from shoulder to hem. 25 inches from armpit to armpit. 19 inches across back shoulders. Sleeves are 26.5 inches. *Shipping is included in the price. **United States only.
Silver Love You More necklace
Love You More silver/zinc alloy block letter necklace. Chain is 9.5 inches long with 3 inch extension. Pendant is 1 inch square and rests on breastbone.
Love all day long.
Comes with gold lamé pouch. *Price includes shipping. **United States only.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.