You should see me during my photo shoots these days. Such a pro. No, I haven’t transformed into Karlie Kloss, but it’s true that, with the launch of my book (wooooohoooo!!!), I’m spending a lot of my time talking about my life and posing for photos.
The thing is, with
all these years of experience, I’ve made a crazy science out of posing. I know my best profile, I know which poses make me look like I’ve gained ten pounds and which ones erase five, and I definitely know how to laugh on command, like I have that authentic burst of laughter down. I can go on jumping to “add movement to the photo” as long as a Duracell bunny (that reference came out of nowhere) and, recently, I’ve even learned to work on my “angles”. Yes, yes, ladies and gentlemen. Apparently, I have angles.
I don’t get mad at all when people talk about me like an inanimate object: “The hair is a bit crooked there. The leg looks gloomy, we need to try another pose. This coat makes her look like Hillary Clinton” (hey, I take that as a compliment) – it makes me laugh, I see exactly what they’re talking about, I change my pose, and make the coat work.
I haven’t learned to cry on command yet, but only because no one’s ever asked me to.
The crazy thing is, with all of that, plus my overflowing enthusiasm (I’m the least blasée girl in the world and, if I could, I’d come to photo shoots with a homemade apple pie every time), plus the photographers, makeup artists, stylists, and talented hairstylists, you’d think 99% of my photos would be at top Giselitude.
As we all know, when you do a photo shoot, whether it’s with GeeDeeOré or Jennifer Lawrence (might as well put our names together in the same sentence, right?) only 1% of the thousands of photos taken are actually good.
So imagine when you’re dealing with photos taken randomly during fashion week, or selfies at the end of the night when you’re looking glassy-eyed at Raspoutine (I’m name dropping to sound like I’m in the know, but I haven’t actually been yet) or in the yellowish light of the metro when you’re hungover in the morning. Ouch.
Or, worse, on a beautiful day when you’re feeling great, fresh-faced, good outfit, good attitude, and suddenly a stranger
offers you flowers wants to take your photo, and you look at the photo and immediately want to break up with yourself by text and post the message on Texts from your Ex.
Yep. Photos have a crazy power over us. Especially in this infernal world of Instagram and Snapchat that we live in, where image is everything. And I’m warning you – it’s not about to stop. As time goes on, the more photos are going to take over reality. That’s how we’ll meet each other, how we’ll communicate with each other, and how we’ll live.
Taken with a philosophical attitude, you could say our photo image is a friend. Besides the idea that images capture the memory of a moment, they’re also a tool that allows us to see ourselves from another perspective (I learned a lot about my style from seeing myself in photos, because they give a real perspective that you can’t get in the mirror) and images really help us communicate in the digital world. I love Skype and FaceTime. I communicate with the people I’m close to (my sister, Laetitia, for example) through millions of selfies. As time goes on, the more our photo image will become an ally to us in our interpersonal communication.
But the thing is, images lie just as much as they tell the truth. Instagram is overwhelming proof of that with its unending chain of perfect photos that are all totally curated and super filtered.
And we love it!
Even though sometimes we see people we know from Instagram in real life and… we don’t really recognize them.
Those little rearrangements of reality never really bothered me. For example, people often tell me I only take pictures of beautiful people – but the thing is, beauty is subjective, and, on the other hand, it’s true that I always take photos of people from the best possible angle and in the best possible light.
But that’s because it’s the way I see life: very soft, luminous, and kind. I wouldn’t change that just to represent a so-called reality that I don’t personally see, myself.
Plus, I do love super beautiful Instagram accounts. They make me dream. They inspire me. OK, sure, sometimes it can be annoying. I am human, after all.
What’s a little crazier is when the Internet creates a completely deformed version of reality. And people end up believing in their virtual personality more than their real personality. I’ve heard of people getting their nose redone “just to look better in photos.”
The problem isn’t so much these isolated cases. The problem isn’t even really which reality we live in, whether it’s real or virtual. Everyone has to decide for themselves, and one day we might not even really be able to tell the difference.
The problem is, the standards of the virtual world are becoming stricter, and it’s more relentless than the real world. And we have a tendency these days to go for total domination over our image – I’m not even talking about the whole system of having followers, because I think that’s going to fall apart one day. I’m talking about the pressure to only show the best version of ourselves.
Before, we could be more relaxed. The people around us knew us personally, and could form an opinion based on multiple aspects of our character. Our image didn’t carry so much weight — it could fluctuate. But I feel like that is starting to disappear these days.
Maybe that’s why we like TV shows so much. The story can go on and on and we have an opportunity to really get into a character’s psyche instead of staying on the surface.
The funny thing is to watch teenagers these days. You should always watch teenagers. They’re so much smarter than us – they’re perfectly aware that all of these idealized images belong to virtual reality. When they see each other in person, they don’t expect everyone to have Facetuned skin. OK, at the same time, they’re pretty much only getting together to check their phones. But anyway. We do the same thing.
What I wanted to say is, it’s time to learn how to laugh on command, to jump gracefully for no reason, and to familiarize yourself with your angles. Yes, you do have angles.
The future’s just taken an incredibly photogenic turn…
What about you? What relationship do you have with your photo image?
Translated by Andrea Perdue