I found Alice a few years ago when I set out to photograph my first parachute dress. I wanted something unique, I wanted a lot of color options and designs to choose from and I needed the pieces to have the feeling of fantasy that was triggering in my imagination. Her closet of pieces fulfilled every-single-one of those needs and expectations. When I rented the first design from her and took it to the Imperial Sand Dunes in southern California, I knew that I had found the fantasy that I sought. It was that thread of fantasy that gave me the courage to say, “this is technically the fashion genre. And I don’t give a flying fuck about putting labels on this, so I can appease the masses, say I do fashion and wait for their cowardly judgement to decide my fate.”
I shot what I saw in my mind and completed the journey in Photoshop. I have continued to do precisely that, ever since and any labels I put on my work is to make it easier for folks to find me and what I have to offer. In an ever expanding world of education for the photography industry, I understand the merit of being cautious about whom you seek knowledge from, especially when that knowledge comes with a price point. However I also am seeing a trend of educators warning the masses “don’t believe what you hear from folks who aren’t actively working in the genre and are known for it.”
I am finding more reasons to disagree with this stance. Our art, our passion for it, our execution of it and our results can speak for themselves. We don’t need to prove ANYTHING, beyond those measurements – first. We don’t need to show a bottom line of massive dollars in the bank, to prove we have a spark of creativity in this new genre. We don’t have to show tear sheets of hundreds of publications, name drop the famous people we know, to prove our value in the chosen genre. We don’t have to hide our insecurity behind bullshit rules or measurements of success like degrees and other ridiculous fallacies. The work, the art, the passion and the drive to see it exceed all expectations – that is the first measurement. Yes the dollars earned for the work is an important measurement. But let me ask you – if you just earned a $2k sale, but it’s your first one – does that mean you don’t know what you are doing? We want to see proof in sustainable dollars, before we accept the wisdom. We want to see the proof that someone has become stagnant in a system that doesn’t change, so we can find the numerical proof that it’s worth it.
I would rather learn from someone that tells me “I am obsessed with this new genre and am learning all I can about it!” than learn from the person that says “I’ve been doing this for 10 years and have made boat loads of cash – don’t listen to the others, listen to me if you want to go to the next level and make money.” That is part of the passion in my heart and soul behind my work and why I was elated when Alice sent me two new prototype designs and gave me the time I needed to experiment and learn. I have wisdom, art and value to offer to you all and I’m not going to let labels or an industry predicated on arrogance, fear or proof, stop me from finding ways to share it with you all. The work and the human behind it, will speak for themselves.