The Evolution of Citrine The Figure & Fashion Model
Using my figure as a means of creative expression connects my mind with my body in ways that working with my hands can’t. As a photographer I used to feel invisible because I’d document events and experiences but not be able to participate the same way as others. While it’s fun and I love photography, the camera can manifest a certain wall between yourself, the people around you, and the moment you’re photographing. When I was younger and experimenting with my camera I’d photograph myself making different faces. I never really associated self portraits with glamour or beauty photography. As I dove deeper into photography I stopped using myself as the subject. I honestly never wanted to photograph people when I started taking pictures. I wanted to capture moods and feelings. It was less about people as subjects and more about what do people feel when viewing my images.
I was young the first time I matched the camera with my creative vision. It's taught me the beauty of the moment and how things are right now. Photography also taught me how to connect with people in a way that now I see everyone in myself. I fell in love with photography and it's candidness. I loved photographing people because they are themselves. It wasn't about all the studio lights and heavy contoured make up. It was about being able to translate a person's personality through a picture, so they could see themselves within themselves. A true smile. The raw feeling of self love, when doing and being your best was being yourself. A moment of you experiencing your own emotions.
Photography's become so much less about you or the moment and more about what we want people to see based on a shallow commercial standard of being and existing. Photography is suffering because of this as well. Everyone is a 'photographer' now a days without any of the credentials, experience, passion, drive or technical skill. You can pass me a camera and I'd figure it out. You can put me in any space with a camera and I'd made art of it. I'd argue that my skill set has degraded over time because of digital photography. I know so much less than I did while studying film. It's honestly appalling how willing this world is to move forward with technology instead of appreciating things in its original state. I remember the relationship I had with developing and rolling my own film. It was a fabulous life lesson on how to have your hands in something from start to finish. It's also a wonderful lesson in how to do something completely on your own. There is plenty of room for experimentation as well. Damn, I miss it. Photography is not the same. It might not even be photography any more.
I remember the moment, several moments, my passion for photography died. I wish I had more self esteem in those moments but I trusted the mentors and entities around me. When I got to college level photography the film department had been taken out and no one tried to direct me into a film photography class on campus. ( Later I found out there still were film classes in a different section of the school) I was so deeply pained by losing film in my life, it crushed me. I can't believe I let it. At the same time what is a person to do when going to school to develop their photography skills but the institution has decided this department is irrelevant.
I used to bring my camera every where and photograph everything. Perhaps not bringing it with me later in life was part of maturing. Maybe it was a reflection of my excitement dying. Part of it was definitely about that transition into having a photography business.
The second time photography died before me was in the first college level photography class I took. It was all about studio light and spaces, a cool new facet of photography, the opportunity for a fresh start. The professor was not thrilled to have a few new wide eyed freshman students in his class and my experience was traumatizing. Maybe we were young but why could that professor at the top university not teach younger students. Why was there something wrong with us just because of age? We were unfairly judged and very much bullied by the professor. Why could no one see my potential in college? I felt very much alone on campus and like no one could se all this glow inside of me. It's safe to say I hated photography, my second love, but thankfully no interest in cameras pushed me back into jewelry design which I remember loving even earlier in life.
If I could go back I'd do it all differently. But here I am today with a fabulous reminder to myself and all to never ever let some one shape your creative eye, not for anything. You are not a problem with the medium and you are very much welcome to participate. My suggestion is to stay true to your vision while taking into consideration other creative perspectives and putting yourself out there. Creativity is something so personal to every individual that no one can tell you how to make something or do something or be something. We can share our creativity with each other but we can not define it for one another. There is mastery of a skill but your creative spark is the way to innovation. Keep exploring and experimenting while lead by your wildest imagination. We need these spontaneous moments to inspire change within and discover the beauty and love in every moment. Photography is not only a commercial phenomenon. It very much roots from curiosity and the moment. Its rooted in exploration of space, time and your life. It's rooted in friendship and community. It literally documents the light of a fraction of a second. Our time is special. You are special. There is an abundance of time but that does not make every moment less special or valuable.
Every moment of our life is legendary. You are a rarity. Your vision is sacred. You are life is art. We create and inspire all the time. It is important that we get back to cherishing ourselves and then one another so much that we see and put more value into the moment. Appreciate yourself and everyone around you for who they are. This kind of artwork is why I knew I had to continue creating through my life. I create because I am in touch with my imagination. We are all suppressing our creative needs. I give my mind creative freedom and protect it by exorcising it. In any moment I could start a sentence that becomes a colossal book series. There were never a shortage of ideas because every moment had the opportunity of becoming one. I saw life this way and today I remind myself to pick up right now with this original thought in mind.
It's a shame that being different and doing different things is a trend now a days. It's like people want to imitate being themselves but they are acting out how others have expressed that idea instead of adding their shine to the mixture, the spectrum of colorful light that we ALL piece together as ourselves. So when it comes to modeling and becoming part of the photographic image or documented moment I always loved styling up clothing to wear. These are the moments of photography that I love the most. A couple friends and I'd go out to some desolate space. We'd switch between modeling and photographing. I never felt 'ugly' or 'fat' in these moments. I don't even really recall having an unhealthy comparison between my friends. I had decent self esteem. These moments were about friendship in my eyes and exploring new places.
I started hopping into frame and onto runways around 2015. Now being a figure model is part of my professional repertoire. I model for college & high school level art classes, photographers, designers, and walk in fashion shows. It's funny how becoming part of another photographers vision reminded me of the first time I picked up a camera which made me think of college and high school then reminded me why I create in the first place. Life is full of circles and motion. Even down to the atomic level. Things are just moving from one place to the next in the same space but every moment is new. Pixels in our pictures are a bunch of tiny squares. Points of an expressionist painting are brush strokes. Connected by randomness or pattern. Up close or far away.