Fashion Magazine

Le Petit Salon #1 : What Photography Taught Me About Appeal and Appearance

By Shugavery @ThinkIncognito
As promised here is the first post of my new section dedicated to femininity. I decided to open it because I love being a woman but at the same time I can say that I am still in search of my own femininity. For me we are not born women but we learn becoming it. I hope this section will be a place where each of you can also tell me about your own experiences so that we can dialog and maybe help eachother growing as women. As for the name of the section I decided to call it "Le Petit Salon" to tribute the litterary and philosophical salons of the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries that favoured the developing of the Enlightment. Some of them being organized by witty and intelligent women I couldn't think of a better name for a section dedicated to femininity. I will publish in this section on Wednesday but only when I feel it.

On a previous post, I told you how much being a model influenced the perception I have of my own femininityBefore I start modelling I was conscious I was a girl. You know that I had the XX chromosomes differentiating me from my male fellows because of my vagina and my chest. All this to say that I definitely knew about my gender but I didn't have a clue about what being a woman meant.It was definitely photography that made me start my journey towards my femininity, therefore the following picture :

Le Petit Salon #1 : What photography taught me about appeal and appearance

Photographer : Philippe Chénau

This photograph is part of my very first shooting. I was 20 or 21 at that time, so quite late to start wondering about myself as a woman I guess. While I think this, my opinion also goes towards the thought that it wasn't that late. When the photographer showed me the picture I was totally surprised by myself because I have no clue that I could actually look like that. It was the first time I found myself appealing. Though this thought of mine certainly has to do with a part of me being narcissistic (seriously who isn't ?) I believe when a woman finds herself appealing it is a strength. If you know you are appealing you will start getting more confident and feel more comfortable. To me it is not a matter of seducing others but definitely learning to see positivity in myself and feel more secure. And photography really helped me in that way.

But I must confess that at the beginning it was really hard for me not becoming a total narcissist. Hey ! when people find you are worth being photographed I can assure you that your ego can be comparable to the one of a certain Kanye West. I figured out it happened only when what I considered in my pictures was my appearance. Once I started asking myself if I really wanted to do a shooting, if it was necessery for me posing nude (and if it was the case which type of nude I would do), about what people will think seeing these pictures (because here opinion DOES count) or what kind of woman I wanted to embody, then and only then my narcissim would disappear. To me the simple fact of asking yourself if something is good or wrong for you means maturing. In this case in particular it meant I was growing up both as a model AND a woman. 

When asked why I started modelling, I often answer that it was to become more confident, have a better vision of myself. See, when I first saw the picture on the top, I said I found myself appealing NOT beautiful. At that time I certainly linked my appeal to my appearance, I mean I did thought I was freakin' beautiful ! But thinking of it now, I believe that I wasn't able to gather my thoughts correctly so that I could define exactly my actual feelings. Nonetheless using the adjective "appealing" instead of "beautiful" meant I had a hint that I was seeing more than my appearance in this photograph. I perceived that in this particular picture (because seriously there are pictures in which my appeal is inexistent)  I had something that made me special, you know this je ne sais quoi. See, I don't believe that having some appeal, charm or glamour, call  it whatever you think it is, does necessarly have to do with beauty. Today fashion magazines and the society want us to believe that beauty and glamour go hand in hand. Indeed how many times do you hear during the Festival of Cannes that an actress is glamorous to point out that she is beautifully dressed ? To illustrate my thought here is an example, I don't find Lou Doillon  beautiful but she definitely has that something special making her appealing in my eyes and yet I can't seem to put it in words, she doesn't have to wear a designer gown and being at Cannes for me to find her glamorous.

Le Petit Salon #1 : What photography taught me about appeal and appearance
All this to say that my modelling helped me shifting my concentration on my appearance towards what made me special, my appeal. This is my own experience but let me ask you : do you think that to be able to see our own appeal, us, women have first to focus on our appearance ?

Editor's note : Writing this article was like hell to me, being in labor (though I never experienced it yet..) so if you find it confused, unclear let me know. I am well aware that opening this new section with such a subject is tough that is why I want to have your opinion about it so that I can improve it.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog