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"10 YEARS CHALLENGE" My crappy old photographs

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Welcome to this new article full of nostalgia and crappy pictures!  During this not so blessed time of my life that was being a gothic teenager (I mean come on guys, this is the WORST period of our lives ever!) I was sad and angry at the whole world, and especially myself (and also really ugly :D ). I think creating those gave me a space to express myself as an introvert. 

There was no instagram, no Facebook, but all the edgy dark artists were on Deviantart back then. That was I think the first community that allowed to share images and it was a draft of social medias as we know now! Even 15 years ago, there were already the likes, the followers, the comments. I remember a few superstars of Deviantart and remembering not understanding how these people got the attention. I remember being lost in the middle of so many creators doing their best. I remember I had no idea how to use Photoshop, and there was nothing online to help me out, to teach me how to master the tool. I remember not knowing how to use the settings on my cheap camera. I remember lighting my setup with my desk light and using my high school homework as a white background.

I also remember that all of this didn’t matter, I was simple experimenting, expressing myself and having fun doing it :) 

(I have to admit I was super proud of this one)

(I have to admit I was super proud of this one)

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When it was a trend to put your signature on every photo (in case of someone stole it you know :D )

When it was a trend to put your signature on every photo (in case of someone stole it you know :D )

Exploring awesome abandoned building in Paris, being chased by the guardian, good old times!

Exploring awesome abandoned building in Paris, being chased by the guardian, good old times!

A long time ago, when I was still photographing people with clothes on, even in the bathtub :D

A long time ago, when I was still photographing people with clothes on, even in the bathtub :D

Does this count as my first self portrait?

Does this count as my first self portrait?

I spent 3 hours one night photographing a feather, trying every angle possible, for absolutely no other reason that I wanted to

I spent 3 hours one night photographing a feather, trying every angle possible, for absolutely no other reason that I wanted to

“Dad can I borrow your tool box?” (notice the love I put into creating the tiny paper squares)

“Dad can I borrow your tool box?” (notice the love I put into creating the tiny paper squares)

This one makes me cringe SO MUCH :D I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT ahahahah

This one makes me cringe SO MUCH :D I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT ahahahah

I cringed so much over some of them but I am not ashamed, I started somewhere, and you can’t go full creative fine art awarded photographer from nowhere : you have to start, you have to learn, you have to find what your style is, you have to find out your vision, you have do do shitty pictures, thousands of them! This is not a race, this is a journey :) And I think it’s fun to me to see that I was already attracted to dark edgy stuff, experimenting a lot, and telling stories with my photographs! Because this is the foundation of my style now :) 

So I am writing this for you guys, I am doing this post to encourage you to not let go, whatever you are creating. If you feel you are there now, just starting out, and you are flooded by photographers, musicians, videographers, artists, doing a better job, who have so many followers than you, and you don’t understand why. Just keep it up, learn your craft, and if you are passionate, you work will improve :) Do it for you, enjoy the journey, because it is all worth it. We are not all born with a natural talent, being discovered at 17, and being a superstar right away. Everyone loves a good success story « look at this amazing pretty photographer work and she is only 18 and doing it with her sister’s cracked iphone! ». This kind of sensationalism is sending the wrong information to the world and make us feel like if we are not discovered early, then we are not good enough, and we will never be succesful. This is so untrue, and the vast majority of us spent years and years building our crafts. 

It is just like your kids drawing : you are not looking at your 3 years old nephew and say « this is shit, your composition sucks, your choices of colors are awful, and what were you even trying to represent? And also you won’t get any present this year because Santa Claus doesn’t exist! AHAH YOU DESERVE NO BETTER! » That would be TERRIBLE. Nope on the contrary we are in awe in front of their imagination, creativity and also because they don’t give a fuck about the rules and that makes some pretty awesome imaginative results. We can tell the technique is not there yet, but their imagination and the experimentation are limitless! So maybe we can look at our early work like this? And try to treat ourselves with kindness instead of being the mean uncle? 

And who knows where I would be now if I hadn’t start with these?

And just as a comparison, this is my latest picture (and the most challenging editing I’ve ever done!) :)

And just as a comparison, this is my latest picture (and the most challenging editing I’ve ever done!) :)

How do you feel about your early work? Did you think you were going to be a rockstar at 19 and got disappointed it didn’t happen? How do you deal with the pressure of feeling your work is not good enough? I find the whole topic fascinating so don’t hesitate to open a conversation about it!

Lots of love et plein de bisous <3

How to develop your creativity in your daily life

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Too often, we get caught up into our daily life, and we don’t realize it fills all the space in our minds : 
 we are always in a hurry in the morning, getting the kids ready, running after our train, not even taking time to eat breakfast, then we are busy answering emails, calls all day long, try to socialize with our colleagues, taking every minutes of our break to check Instagram or Facebook, get back home, remember to do the laundry, eventually cook something, crash from exhaustion in front of Netflix, and start again the next day. Until we die? 


I can find 1000 problems inherent with this crazy modern lifestyle but the one I want to focus here is headspace : Our brains are overstimulated. Thousands of years of evolution brought us here, but the modern life constantly chasing productivity is only a few decades old, and the domination of screens and social medias and notifications are even newer. The truth is we are not designed to process such a big amount of informations. We all know the consequences of the lifestyle : burn out, depression, anxiety, or just constant exhaustion, which became so normal you are not even paying attention to it anymore. 

I think one of the problems is also that we are not allowing ourselves to be creative anymore. 

Creativity does not have to be having a crazy weird concept for a photoshoot : Creativity is the ability to come up with fresh ideas, and to connect informations together to get something new. It is about coming with a solution when a problem arise, it is about taking the time to imagine what you want for your future, or what awesome cake you are going to bake during the week end, it can be about anything! I deeply believe anyone has the the ability to be creative, it is not a superpower, but not anyone is actually leaving enough space in their lives to be creative. 

Why do people have more ideas in the shower? Because they have no distraction, it’s an great moment, no screen, no phone, just you, being relaxed, enjoying a moment. (Fun useless fact : I never have had any ideas in my shower :D ) 

Creativity needs some space to exist, fresh ideas can’t come up if your brain is constantly thinking about your groceries or if you are pissed of by your boss (even if he deserves it!). So here are a few techniques on how to make headspace in your brain to let ideas arise (tested and approved my myself with love!)  

Get organized

Not everything is wrong with our modern life, and the apps are amazing tools that allows us to be more organized and to have some more space in our brains. I just don’t understand people who says they will « remember » this appointment we just made! I mean come on, just write it somewhere, so you don’t have to think about it anymore! Personally, everything that implies me being somewhere or doing something at an exact date goes into my Google calendar. Every ideas I have on the go goes to my Evernote (for example reflexion for this blog, and I am writing this article on Evernote right now). Every ideas for photographs are in notebooks. My groceries lists are on post it (the old school way!). Trello is helping me keeping track of what I have to do for this blog. And I even have a cool app which tells me when I am going to be on my period! (it helps me know right away if the reason that I feel like crap is my hormones having a party! Super useful girls, check it out) NOTHING stays stuck in my brain! All these tools are like assistants taking care of the details of my life so I can focus on my main goal : be present to my life, my friend, and create awesome photographs and content here with LOVE! 


Fun fact : I heard Steve jobs was always wearing the same simple outfit so he didn’t have to think about what he was wearing every morning, so he had more headspace to do something else. He is clearly not remembered for being a fashion icon, but this guys had ideas for sure!

Allow yourself to be bored

Ideas need space to grow, and if you are constantly distracting yourself, no doubt it’s hard for you to get new ones. Everyone is constantly checking his phone, we are not allowing ourselves 5 minutes of just doing nothing, and this Candy Crush thing is not going to help you solve your problems!
Fun fact : some scientist did a cool experiment, people had to wait in an empty room with no more informations that that. They knew they were here for a test, so they were just told they had to wait to get called to start the experiment. All this time the experiment of course started without them knowing it and they were filmed. In the waiting room there was just a box with a button beside them. This specific box was in fact designed to give them a small electric shock each time they pressed it. EVERY one of them touched the button repeatedly even though they get hurt the first time they did : people prefer to feel pain that being bored, this is how much our human brain can’t handle boredom. 

Meditate

I am not a professional of meditation myself : I find this highly intimidating to sit and do nothing even for 5 minutes. Though I try to be more mindful in my everyday life, to step away from my emotions, and to be more present for example when I am walking in the street. I concentrate on the details of the world around me, instead of thinking about 594 stuff. I can see the difference it makes right away on my mood and balance, and I can’t stress enough the power of meditating. You can try it out with and app, there are great : Petit Bamboo in french is the most famous, while Headspace or Buddhify are great for english speakers. 

Find a stimulating environment

When I was a student, I spent all summer working in a bank. And I though I would die. Nothing ever ever would stimulate my brain : I was surrounded by people with no passion, no dreams, everything was grey and sad, this was the worst environment ever, stuck in an office behind a computer doing repetitive tasks with almost no human contact. I can’t think of anything worst, and the truth is it represents most of today’s office job. This is terrifying to me. Later on I was working in an advertising agency and they would put us in a closed meeting room between 2 and 3 pm and expected us to have awesome ideas for a new campaign. No windows, no nothing. No need to tell you it did not work. Nowadays I am going in a trendy coworking space, I chat with inspiring people during my break, they are building their projects on their own, we always share ideas. Sometimes what I though was a 10 minutes wasting my time chatting brought me the solution to the problem I was stuck in for 2 hours. Be careful of who you are surrounding yourself with and where, because it does impact the way you apprehend your world. 

Go on holidays

I don’t know about you guys but when I am travelling and I take a real break, I am happy to rest the first week and eventually after 10 days maximum, I start to get bored of not creating new stuff so I start to get all crazy excited with new ideas again. I usually get enough distance from my daily life to identify the problems, the things I don’t want to do anymore, the things I want to do more, and I always come back home with a plan to start fresh. I am deeply convinced that holidays make me so much productive and help me define my vision. 

Try a creative retreat

A creative retreat allows you to leave your your environment for a while, it can be in your country or anywhere in the world, in the place of your choice. It is not exactly holidays, because you are not chilling or visiting, but all your mental space is dedicated to created something into the perfect conditions. It gets easier to break through your blocks and mental barriers you usually have during your daily life. No one is interrupting you, you can decide to be surrounded by other creative people, it challenges your habits and your vision of the world. For me that’s is just THE ABSOLUTE BEST to achieve big ass projects. 
This is really common with musicians, a lot of bands go rent a house or a studio somewhere, and spend their time doing music everyday and night, whenever they feel like it. I remember photographing the Half Moon run (awesome chill guys!) and they were talking about the process of creating their new album : they rented a house in Canada by the beach, lived altogether for a while, away from the « real » world, went surfing every morning, and spent the rest of the day writing songs. Creating a « bubble »  is the best for big project, like writing a book or building a business because it helps you focus and gives you so much headspace to create your new masterpiece.
I personally built my portrait studio while being stuck in a farm in the middle of Australia, and I am currently writing this article in Bali where I retreated for a month! And these are probably the two times I was BY FAR the most productive in my whole life! One of my dream here is to organize creative retreats so keep in touch if that speaks to your soul! 

So here is this new topic, I am really passionate about the subject and just couldn’t figure a way to write less! Tell me what do you think about this idea? Are you caught up into you daily life? How big is that problem for you? What are your techniques to get more headspace? 

Lots of love as usual <3

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”- Buddha

How to conquer FEAR

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A long time ago, when we had to survive in the wild, fear was a good thing 
(flower : not scary. Snake : SCARY) 
So fear is nice because it wants to protect us from the mean stuff outside so we don’t die. Right? (especially when living in Australia, plenty of snakes and spiders and crocodiles and sharks EVERYWHERE) Problem is, sometimes it’s not as simple and our instincts are weird : in reality most spiders won’t hurt you, but the view of one of them in your bedroom is rarely pleasing! And most mushrooms looks kind of appetizing but you would kill your whole family if you cook an omelette without knowing which one are edible. 

 
So our instinct is weirdly programmed, and it reacts to our emotions sometimes with the brave idea that it is going to save us from a mortal danger when most of the time what we have to do is talk in front of a crowd! (if you ask me I’d have the snake please)
 
Fear can manifest itself into weird anxiety, and it is here with us, it always will be, and everyone feel it at some point, for different reasons, at every point of of our lives, in any places, at any stage of our career, we will never totally get rid of it (although if you did, send me an email at pauline.goyard@gmail.com and I swear I will gift you a photoshoot so we can spend an afternoon talking! TELL ME YOUR SECRET) 
 
Fear is also the best marketing strategy ever, and it sells EVERYTHING : weapons, drugs are a classic, but also cosmetics, fashion, sugar, cars, insurances, political ideas and religions. I could probably write a whole book on this (depressing/fascinating) topic! The most important thing we need to remind ourselves is to identify when something tries to get into your « fear system » to sell us something. If an advertising is promising us eternal youth, love, style, safety, a beautiful family, sunshine everyday, and ALL WE HAVE TO DO is buy this car/shampoo/insurance/ vote this guy, JUST RUN. Oh yeah right I just described probably almost every advertising ever created… (did I mention that I was working in an advertising agency before being a photographer? hum)
 
We all fear the same things : to grow old, to get sick, get lonely, to be a failure in every aspect of our lives, AND EVENTUALLY TO DIE ALL BY OURSELVES from a disease and/or a terrible accident (on a rainy crappy day) 
I make fun of this but I feel every one of this thing deeply in my heart and soul, I am terrified at the idea of loneliness, of aging, of dying, all these craps. And I too would do anything to get some relief from this. 
 
It is all about what we decide to do with it : Do we let it rule our lives? Do we let it drive the whole way hoping it to take the right road for us? Do we let it take the most important decisions of our lives? Do we let it choose our career? Our friends? our relationships? Do we let it raise our children?  Do we let it elect our governements and run our countries? (spoiler alert : we do) 

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What happens when we let fear decide for us?

Sometimes it scares the crap out of you with terrifying stories implying your whole family dying. 
But sometimes it is more subtle it just tells you that you shouldn’t text this girl/guy because she/he will never accept to have a drink with you, because why would she/he? you are scared to feel the pain of rejection again, because it hurts. So you stay at home and watch Netflix instead because it feels nice and cosy and comforting. 
Sometimes it says that you are not a good enough musician and that you will never make it into this industry because it’s so hard and your mom told you it was not a real job anyway, so you give up before you even started, and eat this box of chocolates because it feels good during 5 minutes.
It tells you that you won’t be able to pay your rent next month if you leave this job you hate, so you are scared to chase this dream you have. So you take a loan and buy a car, because you need it to drive to your job everyday, that you can’t quit because you have to pay your loan.
 
Fear has many faces, it has many voices, and we all have them and we can’t really shut them up. But we can listen to what she has to say. And then we can decide that what we want is more important than the pain that we have to get through to get it. Some scientists made some research on the subjects and found that the main fear that is the master of all our fears is probably THE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.
And it makes so much sense O_O
 
Whatever happens, I will fail, make mistakes, get rejected, get hurt again and again, and then eventually die. So I should at least promise myself that I will make the most out of the time that was given to me here. I want to be an explorer of the unknown, even if yes, this is scary and uncomfortable, but the result worths it so much! And even if the result does not worth it after all, even if I fail, let it be in an epic way! I know I will hate myself even more knowing that I did not at least tried. I am often terrified but I don’t want to let these thoughts  define who I am, and more importantly getting in the way of who I want to be.
 
The idea of living a life not even trying is WAY SCARIER than any failure, rejection, mistake, shame!
And that’s probably the only secret there is to conquer fear.
 
I also know that all the crazy beautiful things I ever experienced always happened out of my comfort zone.
So here it is, my blog, a big scary thing, and I sincerely hope it will inspire you, so that we can grow together, and make sure we become closer everyday of the very best version of ourselves possible 
 
I would love to know your thoughts on this, do you think your fears keep you from growing? Are you on the contrary a conquerer? I could talk so much on this subject I find it so fascinating! 
 
Lots of love,
 
Pauline

1 article a day for 1 month - halfway there!

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When my friend told me she was going to challenge me to write one article a day for a month, her main argument was : « I want you to learn seven times faster than if you were writing only one article a week » 

Which makes so much sense! So if you are hesitating in joining a challenge like this, here are the lessons I have been learning so far the last two weeks! 

- The BIGGEST one : I’ve learnt to let go even if it’s no perfect 
I don’t pour my heart and soul in each article, but a job that I have to deliver. I still write everything with love, but I am more detached from what I am creating and I needed this SO MUCH

- The second MASSIVE one : I could NOT have done it by myself. Being pushed and supported in this challenged has made all the difference. Plus it is not only me, I am holding at least two people accountable and I just can’t not deliver my article everyday, because I don’t want to disappoint them.

- The third HUGE one : It taught me to show up, and to deliver, EVERY DAMN DAY. Even exhausted, even not wanting to do it, even when I don’t have any ideas, and my brain is all melted, and I just want to go to sleep or go on a week end. This is a job, not a passion project anymore, and if I want this thing to work (and it will) I have to consider it seriously. 

- Time is extensible : the more time you have the more you spend
If I have the whole day to write an article, I will use it, and If I have just one hour, I will take one hour! So what if I could take one hour and then have the whole day to do something else? 

- I am on the process of learning to be more concise : that’s a tough one for me, and I need more experience, I have ideas all over the place, and it is really hard to do small light easy to read more entertaining articles! 

- Fear can become a habit : I get less stressed out about sharing my work, because I am not asking myself hundreds of questions about me being legit to do this or not, I just don’t have time to do it! I don’t have impostor syndrome, I know I am learning, that this is a journey that I am glad to finally be sharing with you! 

- I found a method and I am being more efficient (and less all over the place!) : I am writing all my ideas for one article as they come on a draft, and open another window by the side, to write down the final organized proper article (I have no idea how people usually do blog post!) 

I also have not so positive lessons, because this challenge is not easy for sure. So here are a bit of the downsides : 

I feel highly frustrated because writing the articles takes up so much time and mental space in my mind, I feel I am not getting anything else done. I have the feeling that my project is not moving on fast enough, I barely have the time to finish the website properly, let alone starting to work on social medias. I also know that when I am going to be back in France, I will have to work for my portrait clients again and I won’t have as much time at all. Also I definitely need a REAL break : like two full days not touching this website, not writing nor posting anything : and to achieve this goal I have to get twice done in a shorter amount of time! 

I would definitely recommend doing a challenge like this one if you want to get better at something QUICKLY. My friends are doing « one video every day for a month » (which is a tough one as well!) And as a photographer I would recommend to do the « one creative photograph every day » : I can see how you will learn and grow and push your limits for sure!  

Have you ever done a weird challenge like this? Would you like to try someday?

Are self portraits narcissistic?

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During Sue Bryce fine art workshop, where I photographed a self-portrait in front of the internet audience, someone asked an interesting question : Do you think people will judge you as being a very self centered person? 

I was really surprised by the question, because I never thought of myself like this. I answered that the people who know me won’t think that because they know I am not like that at all. The people who will judge me badly obviously don’t know anything about  me, so I don’t really care what they think. 


I did not start taking self-portrait because I wanted to show my face: I started to take self-portrait because I needed to learn photography! I experimented a lot (and I am still now) and I didn’t want to bother a model everyday. I could have someone once in a week, but not exactly when I wanted, not in the middle of the night, not even in the day when everyone else was working in their daily job. So I started to take pictures of myself. And I realized I had A LOT of things that I wanted to tell in my pictures, and it was my story, so it had to be me in the pictures (maybe not but this is the way I feel). So this is how I started my « self-portrait therapy ». I never stopped, even when I feel like « I am getting to old for this » (slap me, I KNOW) or some day when I just feel like crap and I don’t want to see more of myself.

One of my first self-portrait back in 2014. I remember it as a fun afternoon playing with speedlights in my kitchen while my housemates were at work!

One of my first self-portrait back in 2014. I remember it as a fun afternoon playing with speedlights in my kitchen while my housemates were at work!

Because, yes, when you take a self-portrait, trust me, you can see your flaws. Like all of them, even some that you were not aware even existed! So, trust me it’s not narcissism, because there is no one harder on yourself than yourself. 

So I started to ask myself, it this a normal thing to take self portraits?

What I think is REALLY INTERESTING, is that from all times, artists always represented themselves: there are numerous self portraits in the History of Art, and this, for A LONG TIME (like ancient Egypt paintings and sculptures, ancient Greek vases, etc). Although, it’s really around the European Renaissance (XVth century) that artists really started experimenting with this technique. They are many reasons for self portraits, and one of them was the artist could not afford to pay for a model: we can imagine painting could take weeks and even months, so it was cheaper to buy a mirror and to learn the techniques and train by themselves. (something familiar here mmh). 


Rembrandt is really famous for his dozens of self portraits, and he painted himself all life long. I love his paintings (the guy invented a new way of seeing light, that’s something!)), he is not being easy on him, he represents himself as an old man, and we can feel the texture on his skin and the weight of the years. And I don’t think anyone told him he was being narcissistic, for sure! 

Rembrandt, Self Portrait with Beret and Turned-Up Collar, 1659.

Rembrandt, Self Portrait with Beret and Turned-Up Collar, 1659.

There were dozens of artists who played with self-portraits, you can check their work if your are curious about the subject: among them Picasso, of course Van Gogh, Gustave Courbet, Goya, Degas, Delacroix, Renoir, Matisse, etc etc. 


One of my favorite self portrait of all time is from Frida Kahlo : she is a Mexican painter, and had an accident that handicapped her all her life. She had a mirror installed on her bed, just above her, and she painted self portraits. I think she has a really cruel and hard vision of herself, and is she is not representing herself as « beautiful » . She represents her pain and story. (if you haven’t watched the movie about her life, go see it, it’s really great!).

Frida Kahlo, The Broken Column, 1944.

Frida Kahlo, The Broken Column, 1944.

I think we are living on a culture where pictures are everywhere, and selfies are just a norm: we are judging girls who takes a lot of selfies, we feel that there is something narcissistic about that, and we don’t really understand the limits between selfies and self-portrait. I mean, even Kim Kardashian has a book of selfies, so is this becoming a new form of art? Or was it always there? Interestingly enough, the first photographic portrait that was ever taken was a self portrait. 

Robert Cornelius, 1839 (!!)

Robert Cornelius, 1839 (!!)

So I would say to conclude (I could talk for hours on the topic), if you hesitate about doing self portraits: DON’T HESITATE. Just do it, people won’t judge you, it’s normal as a creator to explore different things, and self portraits are a great great way to experiment. Plus, if you don’t like the pictures, remember no one has to see them in the end, you only share what you really want to share. 


Bonus : you really needed Andy Warhol self portraits shot with Polaroid films in your day. Don’t ask me why, I just know it  :)

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what to do when you feel like giving up?

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Some days, it is just too much, you got rejected again, some close relatives made you doubt about your decision again, it’s raining, and I hope you did not watch the news on TV! There are 1000 reasons things can go wrong and we feel it is just too much for us to keep going on. 
First of all I want you to know that it is normal and it is alright :) I also want you to take a break and try to identify how you are feeling physically.

Exhausted right? Because you know when our bodies are tired, the brain certainly starts to get all messed up. We have to understand that we don’t have unlimited ressources when it comes to energy : it is just like a video game, your energy bar is empty and you still want to do more! It can’t work, so you have to take actions to refuel your energy bar before you are drained. Because if you are not aware of the signals your body is sending you, the brain will look for a way to make you stop! Yep, makes more sense! 

I am 12 days into the challenge (write one article a day for a month) and I can feel myself being more and more tired. And I can feel that my energy is not the same,I am frustrated, I feel like I am not getting anywhere, it takes all my energy and it definitely shows up on my motivation. And more important, it shows up on my belief that what I am doing matters, and is important. 


When the mind is a mess, I try to RECONNECT WITH MY BODY. It goes together so here ll the list of things that I have done one purpose to improve my mood the last two days :

TAKE A (real) REST
Like a real one, like sleeping for a full 8, 10, 12, 27 hours, a week, whatever you need! Due to our crazy modern  lifestyles, most of us are deprived of sleep constantly and this is not good for either our mental health and our bodies. 
If you are caught up into you mind, sometimes it’s just that you are too tired to have a constructed thought, and your brain start to go a bit craaazy. So just be mindful and understand when you are this kind of state, you don’t have to feel guilty or to try to change your mood, just go watch a movie, and sleep. 

MOVE YOUR BODY BABY! 
Go to sport, get back from work walking, go swim, get this muscles moving even for a little! It will send nice chemicals to your brain that will make him happy!

GET SOME NICE COMFORTING (maybe healthy) FOOD
I would treat myself with something healthy nice, home cooked, whatever! Something that will have good nutrients, and vitamins, delicious, but I try to avoid something rich that will have the opposite effect on my mood :) (but hey, do your best, and have your favorite cookies for dessert, they look delicious!) 

IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT : A MASSAGE/ A DAY AT THE SPA/ A HAMMAM
a massage can do wonder to release all your tension, I know it’s a big treat, but it will get you back on tracks for a few hours, and sometimes it worths the investment! (remember you were ready to give up anyway, so what’s the cost of  massage if you get back to work right after all refueled :p) 


As I am living in Bali right now, and I admit I did all these stuff pretty easily or for cheap, and I feel that changed everything concerning building this project. Being at home, I would have had a hard time getting back on track for sure, but because well being is so accepted here, it is just part of the lifestyle to take care of yourself. So I am realizing there is a guilt around all these stuff sometimes, we think we don’t have time or we don’t deserve such a treat like a massage for no reason, but in fact they are just vital for our balance!


And please PLEASE don’t make any decisions while you are exhausted. If you have a party and you drink alcool, you are not driving your car, because you know it is dangerous and not safe, you are going to be too slow and all messed up. Exhaustion has some similar effects on your brain, so please juste be aware of this and say : "brain, you are tired, I am not giving you the keys! I am walking you back home, put you in the shower and then put you in a comfy bed, because you can’t do anything else right now properly! »

Do you do these on purpose when you feel down, or do you get caught up into you mind too much? What are the things you do to take care of yourselves when you feel down? 

I am sending you a lot of love, and if you are feeling down right now, remember that everything is temporary, believe me I know it will get better, keep it up! :) 




Does it make sense to create more art?

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A few months ago I went through an existential creator crisis (just like every others couple of months to be honest ;D ) : it didn’t make any sense any more to create pictures. 


You know, there are already so many of them everywhere! Let’s face it, we are flooded with images and other stuff : more pictures are uploaded every day on instagram than ever before, at a point we almost start to regret the age of the scarcity of film photography. Why would I spend 12 hours to create something with my heart and soul for it to disappear almost instantly, lost into this sad ocean of selfies. And if you start comparing yourself and your work with others photographers, it’s over : so many of them already doing such beautiful pictures, it does not make any sense to do some more! It will never be as beautiful, and even if it’s not that bad, it will never set itself apart from the crowd. That’s it, we are doomed to stay in this magma, lost in the middle of millions other people. I should have listen to my parents/husband/sister/friend and get a real job!

I knew it, I will never be Beyoncé, we are all gonna die, the planet is fucked and the pandas are still not having sex DAMNIT!

Ok, it’s time for a bit of mindfulness, let’s get back on track before we get lost into dark sad parts our mind labyrinth

I want to give you my own most powerful reasons to keep going. This is personal, mostly from conversation with good friends, and this pieces of philosophy help me on a daily basis to keep the spark going!

The world desperately needs the dreamers 

I got this one from my beautiful dancer friend human Kevin : He thinks our mission is indeed vital to the society : We are the one able to see and share beauty, we have the power to move people, to make them feel, this is what’s matters the most. As long as we have the artists, the world will not give up. Don’t let anyone treat you inferior because you are just another creator who wants to live his dream. Everyone loves to go to movies, to watch TV shows, to listen to music : this industries are MASSIVE, they hire thousands of people, and they influence people’s life, who can gather around something great and positive. That’s why every dictature have an absolute control over art and creation : they either use it to promote their own values, or censor the creations that does not fit their views. They understand very well that it can influence people’s point of view. Even in our societies, we need the dreamers to give us hope in a world flooded by bad news ans sensationalism. Especially when medias are playing with our fears on a daily basis. 

The mission of the artist

The artist is a messenger : they are a voice of the society we live in. You might want it or not, but you are a part of this world. So even if you don’t consider yourself as a non-political person, you are still a product of the society you are living in. The creator can use his skills to share messages from people that does not have the voice or the power to do so. When I was still a student in graphic design school, a friend of mine was older and he was already a recognized art director in Paris. He mentored me for a bit and I remember a great lesson he taught me : He said to me « as a designer, you have a power to help others : for example, a charity that helps women victim of domestic violence wants to promote the work they are doing. If they do a poster themselves, and put them it the wall in the street, probably no one will read it. But if you create a great poster for them, with a strong message and an impactful visual, some people will see it and be interested in what they have to say. As a designer, you will have to decide what you want for this world, you can use your power to influence people to buy more useless craps, or you can help give a voice to some people who can’t speak ». I realized this day that if I had a power and a responsability that was beyond me and beyond creating just beautiful visuals. 

The creators are the voice of their time

I will go even farther and say that most of what we admire from the past are from creators : the artists have the power to transcend reality but also time. If a prehistoric guy, thousands of years ago asked himself too many questions about why he was doing this weird paintings on the cave wall and watched netflix instead (wait what?) we would not be able to admire them. And even more important, to understand a tiny bit more about the way they were living. Most of the things we value from our past is Art, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture : these creations reflect the beauty of a past time. We won’t remember the accountant, the banker nor the nurse. These jobs are vital to a society for sure, and sometimes, the artist even help them to be remembered in their own way : I love how Verweer saw beauty and poetry in the life of the domestics working in house : we have to remember it was a time when only rich people got to have their portraits painted. He gives us an insight into the 17th century daily life of workers, and showed us the beauty of it. There are as many different ways to see the world as people on this planet, and I think this is incredible to have access to a piece the mind of other artist, living in other societies, and different times than us. It’s like opening a window to a different world that does not exist anymore. 

Vermeer, milkmaid, around 1658-1661

Vermeer, milkmaid, around 1658-1661


Conclusion

I could give you 1000 reasons why creation will always be a part of my life, this is a highly complicated, deep subject and I have so many more ideas on it (for a change!!). But I love these ones because they are beyond my own personal struggles. They help me see a bigger picture, and as someone who get trapped into my mind labyrinth a lot, it really helps me take the necessary distance to understand that my work is indeed valuable in some way. 

And also, what a waste of a life not to walk your own path :) 
I KNOW IT’S NOT THAT EASY
well it’s another story!

Des bisous!

My (not so) secret in creating anything

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Today, I want to tell you a story that was a great lesson I learnt when I was a kid (I still remember it so that’s how you know it was important :D ) 

I was something like 5 or 6, and as a homework, I had to reproduce a painting (I wanted to add something like « this was the good times", but my job right now is not that far away!!) 
I remember it was a landscape of a sunset, with a lot of red and blue, I would probably recognize it if I saw it right now! 

I remember doing it, not rely putting my mind on it, it was done, my homework were done, alright all good, I was going to sleep and go to school the next day. 

My sister (she is 11 years older) came in my room and saw my art peace. Straight away she went : this is bad, you do it again ». I was like « wtf » I had done my homework I could not understand what was wrong, and even worst, I couldn’t go to bed! 

But she took the time to show me what I should have done, she did her own version of the painting so I could see what technique she used. It was not something magical or mysterious : she was putting LOVE in this. She was actually caring about what she was doing, not just doing it for the sake of doing it. I tried and right away it looked SO DIFFERENT. I was blown away by the result, I had no idea I could do something that look this good and I finally had the best grade of all the class. She made me understand this day that it is not about being good at something : it’s about doing it with care and attention, and it does make so much more difference. 

THERE IS NO POINT DOING THINGS JUST TO DO THEM

I think I am seing so many people thinking they are not good enough, they think they don’t have the skills to have good results, they think it’s all just like this and they will never be good at anything. But the truth is, they forget the main ingredient : it’s LOVE! 

I know it sounds cheesy, but it is absolutely true (plus if you know what I am creating, you know I am not such « spark joy » kind of person :D ) 

If you miss to add this crucial ingredient, I think you can not excel in anything you are doing : if you cook, you have to cook with love, because if you don’t, something is going to end up burnt up for sure! But if you put all your attention in what you are doing, then even if it’s not perfect, you gave it all your love, and it shows, and trust me, people see this things.

It is exactly the same in every area, I will photograph people with love, I will treat my models with respect and treat them as my friends, I will have empathy for my client’s insecurities. And when I am doing my retouching, I am not just applying a mask or removing blemishes : I am doing everything with so much care so the result is the best I could have done. And when I deliver the pictures, I even say it out loud « I created this with love, and I hope you are going to love the result as much as I do! » 

And to be honest with you, if I don’t do stuff with love, I don’t see the point of doing them at all :)

I would love to know if you think this is important. Do you already do it in some areas of your life? 

How to stand out from the crowd

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Your work is finally good but you are afraid to take the leap to turn pro : here what you have to be focused on : 

Weird practical advices to set yourself apart from the crowd of photographers and be hired

If you have the project to turn pro photographer (or pro musicians, actor, anything!) the transition is hard : one of the worst thing most common we tell ourselves (and others will tell us FOR SURE so get ready) is :

« oh but there are already so many ____ (pick you dream job) there is no point, I can never make it work, there is no room left »

First of all, there is room for everyone. Even if the truth here is there are a lot of photographers that you think have a great portfolio. But on all of them I assure you than 90% of them don’t have these following qualities! An d this is GREAT for you because here is your chance to be different! 

So how to stand out when there is so much competition around :

- Have your own vision : (alright this one is not weird but I could not not include it)
No great photographer is ever hired because they have the most expensive newest camera : people want to buy their unique way to see the world! When I say Peter Lindergh, straight away I can see the mood of his portraits, he has his own unique signature and voice.
Find your niche, the thing that makes you awesomely unique! You might not know what it is yet, but the more you create, and the more defined your style will be. Hopefully there will be plenty of articles here to help you with this part! 

- Answer the damn phone, answer the damn email : be reactive
It seems like common sense but believe me, but it is not that easy to find. People wants to see you are reactive, that you care, not that you wait a week before answering their quotes. I remember being an art director, I was in charge of printing the magazine I created. it was a big budget, I asked for 12 quotes and I had two companies answer me… I realized that some people actually don’t really want to work this much! 

- Be nice and friendly :
Believe me, if someone is hesitating between two photographers (who have the same rate), they will choose the person that was a great time to be around last time! It’s not that hard to connect with people, be curious and open minded. If you are passionate about what you are doing, you will inevitably send a good energy and people will be attracted by your personality! I have a friend who is a photographer, and he always post silly stories on Instagram, he does weird funny self-portraits of himself, (as well as really goof photographs of course) and he told me that he got a commercial job because the guy who hired him found him funny compared to another photographer. True story. 

- Deliver the damn pictures!
So you get a call because some guy found your work really unique, you made the effort to answer the phone, you put on your nicest clothes and smile, you rocked the photoshoot : THIS IS NOT THE MOMENT TO DROP THE BALL!! Deliver the pictures in time! You can’t imagine the number of photographer that are just behind on their retouching. Even really good organized nice well paid one! Finish the job properly with love! 

So if you are a good photographer but you also do this, trust me, people are more likely to call you back because they know you are going to deliver a great service! it is how I got hired by the most beautiful palaces in paris : I answer my phone when they call me, I show up, I am never late, clients like me, and I deliver nice pictures on time. And you might not believe me, but I have a such a hard time finding someone to replace me when I can’t be there myself. 

It’s about being professional, and even if there are THOUSANDS  of photographers out there, the competition is not as tough as you think. Especially when you put a minimum effort and love in what you are doing! If that sounds like common sense to you, that’s great news, it means you are ready! No more excuses! :) :) 

(I want you to notice that gear does not matter here! And if you need a special piece of equipment for a job, just rent it!)

LOVE TO ALL! I would love to know your opinion about this!!

My 10 favorite ways to find creative ideas

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Inspiration IS a big deal for creative people, especially when it’s not there. Everyone has this misconception that artists are really inspired people by nature, that they get this genius lightning of magical ideas coming from nowhere that make them create awesome stuff. Sorry to disappoint but the only secret is that it’s mostly A LOT of work! And I am pretty sure any random person can have awesome ideas if they put some effort in this. So the best way to start is to actively look for ideas. I was lucky enough to meet Ben Harper and I remember him saying that he would sit and write music everyday. He is not waiting to be magically inspired out of thin air, he is not picking his guitar because he is in the right mood : he is picking it everyday, just like any other job, he puts a lot of hard work in this. Most musicians write 100 songs to get a 10 tracks album! So don’t feel discouraged if everything you do is not perfect, that’s just normal, but at least doing it gets you on the right track and leave plenty of room for improvements! 

First thing first : Take the time to actually write down the ideas! Write, them, sketch them, put them on paper, get a fancy notebook, a crappy piece of blank paper, anything, but DO IT. My most prolific times are when I actually force myself to sit with nothing but a blank page and a pen that I find most ideas coming to my mind!

I have SO MANY of these laying around everywhere!

I have SO MANY of these laying around everywhere!

Sometimes it is not that easy, so here are some tips and triggers that I personally use on a daily basis for fresh ideas (and I am almost sorry to say this does not any drugs or alcool  )

  • Friends

Spend some time and team up with other creative people, brainstorm with your creative friends : make up artists, illustrators, designers they surely have a cool project ongoing and they will be more happy to have pictures of it at some point! Book an afternoon with them, everyone brings food, drinks, ideas, and enjoy this moment! 

  • Music

I will lay on the floor with my headphones and listen to music (which must be a weird sight from outside), just letting go and creating a whole world in my head (bonus point if you have musician friends who constantly inspires you so they have cool pictures for their marketing!) Going to concert is awesome! Live music is the best because you can feel the energy of the band and the public around you. 

  • Feelings

Your own emotion at the moment (the crappiest the more inspiring, sad but true  ) : how would you visually represent this feeling? Bonus point here because letting it out is always better for your mental health 

  • Find a muse!

Someone you can shoot who complete you artistically, someone who makes you want to create and allows you to express your art, someone who share your vision and respect it! He/she could be a model, a dancer, your lover, a burlesque artist, a performer, a comedian, even just a random person that you are attracted to for some reason, anyone! PUT HIM NAKED AND SHOOT HIM (ask for consent thought) Many designers have had muses they created uniques pieces for, and artist are painting their favorite model endlessly, because they always had a new story to tell about this person. 

  • Pinterest

I have a huuuge pinterest board that I love browsing from time to time for visual references, it’s a great mood board. It’s very personal but you can check it out if you are curious. I pin everything and not photography related stuff, it’s a lot of contemporary art mostly

  • Going OUT

Exhibitions, looking at art with your own eyes is pretty different than just checking it on the internet (it would be the same as watching a movie streaming on your phone VS going to the theatre!) 

  • Try a new technique

A new light something new, experimenting with gels? Get a new backdrop? Mixing real paint on top of a picture? Experiment with dry ice? Hell yeah! Go a bit crazy! I think it’s the only time I will look for inspiration into other photographer’s work. I often see copies of copies of pictures, and I feel our work is much stronger when we define our own concepts, when we build our own references outside of our industry. That is what will make our work somewhat unique, and truly reflecting our creative identity. 

  • Reading a book/ stories, go see a movie

Just like music, it’s all about training our imagination and our creative eye. How did you imagine this really nice paragraph you just read? expand your own world, feed your mind.

  • Go for a walk in nature

If I spend a lot of time in my studio I get trapped into my own mind. Getting some fresh air definitly brings fresh ideas! (And I am writing this with frozen hands from my phone in a park so it does work!)

  • Location / travelling

You went to a new place that is so cool you absolutely want to go back there and shoot! Going to a new city, visit new country, immerse yourself in a new culture is great to get surprised and excited again!

Bonus

if you are really stuck and your mood is not for creativity, it can happen : learn to rest and to let go for a while. Do something you would never do usually, sometimes you have less pressure to deliver something you don’t HAVE to be good at : For example My illustrator friend Camille takes pictures of flowers and random stuff to get ideas for drawings, my musician friend Maxime had no ideas for new songs so he spent a lot of his time writing a novel (I admit, some people are extreme  ) One day I bought some modeling clay and spent the night trying to do a skull. The result was awful but I had fun :p