I know I am not the only one who feels like this year is drawing to an end all too fast, but looking back at these photos emphasizes it even more to me. I took these the day we found out we were pregnant again. I was certain my excitement would burst out of me to anyone passing by, but then again I always choose less-traveled areas to take photos so I only had an interaction with about four people, who were all together in a group.
As I was shooting, the group of elderly people walked past where I planned to stand. The first spoke up, “I hope we’re not ruining your picture!” and the second quickly quipped, “we’ll model for you” while chortling with amusement and striking a silly pose.
The third stopped and struck up a short conversation.
“My, you look sharp! What do you do; why are you dressed up so pretty?”
“Oh!” I answered a little shyly, never having really outright told people what I do in person; “I run a fashion blog, and I’m a photographer.”
“Wonderful!” she said, and she smiled as she move on. “Don’t let us bother you!”
From a bench a few feet away, one of the older men said “I hope we won’t mess you up while we rest over here!”
As I shot photos, I could hear them chatting merrily amongst themselves and here and there I heard them talking about my dress, or photography, or their younger selves. I felt extremely awkward having this little audience, but it was also encouraging.
Before they walked away, the woman who had spoken to me most called out, “you’re beautiful! Don’t ever stop dressing pretty and taking pictures!”
I know I have mentioned before that I never quite know what people are thinking when they happen to find me photographing myself in a semi-deserted area, dressed far more formally than most would dress on a day-to-day basis. Especially when it come to older generations, for whom the internet and fashion blogs were not a thing. When you wanted to see style, it came in the form of magazines and fashion shows, not clever urls and everyday women going out by themselves to photograph themselves for a website dedicated to… themselves.
Of course, blogging is much more than just fulfilling a vanity. I know this, because I am a blogger and I have experienced firsthand the friendships, community, and beauty of finding people who get you. It’s a joy to blog. It’s a joy to spread beauty, to offer a helpful tip – even if that tip is focused on clothing – and to get to encourage others to find what they love to wear and wear it with abandon, the regardless of how others might expect them to dress. It’s a joy to exercise creativity through colors, shapes, and patterns, and through photography and composition. It’s a joy to simply create something pleasing to the eye.
But others, who look on from a complete stranger’s point of view, who are unaware of what I do? I never quite know what to expect. And their responses always surprise me. I’m surprised by the delight of others when they find out what I do. I’m surprised by the genuine interest. I’m surprised that nobody scoffs and says it’s such a silly thing to do.
Perhaps part of it is that nobody wants to approach me because I definitely talk to myself during the entire shoot like a crazy person. But I like to think people can see the joy and it spreads.
And yes in case you’re wondering, I’m aware it’s actually The Hunt for Red October. But I had to pun.