of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.
synonyms: genuine, original, real, actual, veritable, true
PS. No matter what the t-shirt says, you should never be an unicorn. They sh*t sparkly glitter crap everywhere.
Personal style and creativity embodies humans and is not simply related to our physical manifestation. At some point in history our predecessors began to draw simple shapes on cave walls which came to represent symbolism and arguably, the beginnings of language. BUT you can bet your hard-earned cash that there was a bitch fight over who painted the first buffalo/bison and how many variations of this same shape there have been. The same can be said of the influencer world.
As a newbie to this fascinating and creative wonderland, I’ve tried to do my homework as much as possible. Without wanting to swamp myself with ideas ahead of my station, I’ve watched as many industry leaders, CEO’s and Influencer Managers discuss what it takes to grow, create and be successful. One of the fundamental points is that of authenticity.
In a world where people replicate photography concepts – occasionally to the ridiculous detail, being authentic has never been so important. But what exactly makes us unique – sets us apart from the rest?
My instagarm has been up and running since 2013 and has been a variable miss-mash of amateur iPhone photography and occasional DSLR beauties. Since creating BoudiccaReigns at the start of 2017, I have inevitably returned through my feed to curate a more appropriate content from my history however I continued to feel frustrated by what made me unique. Sure, Im a minority in terms of my focus on positive psychology, fashion, beauty and lifestyle but how does this translate into photography?
On Instagram, the merit on which we are judged to be similar, the same or different from each other is based on the content of our feed. Now, granted, my written content may be a little different to the average style blogger and hopefully written in a varying tone too…. but how does that translate to photography? I returned to analyse my liked posts – a very clear minimal theme emerged, focused on neutrals, black and whites. Sure. Great. So, how do I make mine unique from all the other black/white/greys #minimalisthunter accounts doing the rounds?
I love a good flatlay – it’s a skills thats developed rapidly over recent months and something ill hopefully continue to learn. I love a street style #ootd post, standard really. You’d expect no less. Nice beauty shots and the occasional plant/candle/tree/flower and there you have me….just like 99,999 other accounts.
I had to return to the drawing board.
First of all, of one thing I was sure: I wanted to create content that I enjoyed creating – so, off I trundled with my new wares, tripod in tow towards the nearest white wall I could find (cliché). I set the auto timer to 20 seconds and played about. Literally. My neighbours think I’ve lost the plot. I ran, I twirled, swishing my voluminous pieces in the wind. If you want to read the full post click here.
First clue: I want drama in my content: movement, dark/light, action. Essentially I want to be the inner teen model I never was or could have been (or ever will be). The editorial aspect of my fashion photography was outlined.
As days passed by and I spent (as I still do) all my waking and non-working hours glued to my Macbook, I noticed photo inspo at my ‘besk’. Yes, that does say ‘besk’ (its my bed which is also my desk. And my back is in bits). The usual bog-standard-yet-still-popular, “Macbook on duvet” stuff expanded to include a human. Me. My coffee, water and daily essentials are featured. Another identifier was born: Human flatly. For some reason all I think when I read that line back is Human Centipede, but its nothing anywhere as dark, honest.
Now whilst I don’t claim to be the originator of the human flatly, I can safely say that this type of photography has developed from curiosity, in a natural and organic way. Theres been no “I like that idea, lets see what I can do with it”…its just something that I tried one day without a lot of thought and I like it.
To further pick my brain (and move away from horror inducing images or people sewn together), I turned to the internet. Funny how we are happy to ask google who we are but we seldom gather information from our nearest and dearest..but thats a whole different post!
A quick search claims authenticity is defined as:
- our values and beliefs. How can we act in an authentic way if we do not know what we value or want.
- Been able to fit in the blank: “If you really knew me you’d know:_________”
- Notice when we are being inauthentic
- Trusting our intuition
Still a little wary – I turn to what I know best: Psychology. The flood gates are open (see – drama..thats just me).
Psychology Today claims to increase our authenticity we should:
- Be more self-aware (similar to point 1 above)
- Avoid perfection (point 4)
- Find genuine connections (number 5)
- Be present (kinda point 2 and 3 to some degree)
I could list hundreds if I felt it was worthwhile but for the purpose of this post, that’ll do. If this seems a bit deep then head over to Psychologies (here) to take a short test that will give you a better insight into how authentic you are capable of being.
It’s only through creation I’ve learnt it IS possible to fit “me” into this crowded space. Several months prior I may have used the word dramatic but struggled to visualise how it would work.
In light of my recent experiences I’ve concluded that the authentic self is discoverd with time and patience. Harnessing the essence of who we are and making it unique and palatable or dare I say even successful through different mediums, is no mean feat. If your stuck or it doesn’t feel cohesive then to me personally (going by my past experience) it’s a sign that theres something else out there meant for you.
Take that as you will from a 36-year-old ex-fashion buyer, psychology graduate and mental health worker attempting to build something authentic in the bloggersphere.
If you’re interested in reading more about authenticity in blogging – checkout the beautifully crafted and written Capture your Style by Aimee Song (SongOfStyle) – click here.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it. Please feel free to leave a comment below, share or subscribe. If you prefer a more visual platform, head on over to Instagram (link on front page) – I ramble less on there. Promise.