The Art of Pose : Dare to translate it
An English translation of Dare to love yourself - The Art of Pose, written by French model, actress and writer Florence Rivières.
Dare to love yourself (and then make something out of it) - The Art of Pose
With digital development, more and more art is being made . And yet we are also surrounded by the ever-present images created by mainstream marketing. There are, as a logical consequence, more and more photo models to populate these spaces. Who are they? Which networks do they use? What does exactly posing for a picture mean? How, and why, would they “become a model”? Social over watch on models acts like a magnifying glass. What insight does it have to offer about our relationship to our bodies and its image? And, once and for all, is modelling a proof of both narcissism and sheepish compliance to marketing standards?
This book, at the crossroads between a how-to guide, a sociological study and a memoir tells the underlying story of a process : how we go from self-rejection towards self-transcendence, through self-appreciation and self-acceptance; how we need to separate the body itself from the image of the body in order to be in sync with the former without letting the latter overwhelm us; how we first start by instinctively rejecting consumer society standards in order to regain power over the body, through catharsis and a conscious use of our image in order to find our own voice; how we turn external validation into self-sustained legitimacy, looking for our own vulnerability and making it our best asset.
That was the synopsis. Here is the story.
So this is basically the synopsis of my first (fingers crossed) book, The Art of Pose. First, "I" is a twenty-six-years-old multiple-occupations french young woman. I work as an actress, writer, photographer and, more specifically connected to our subject here, as a model. I started modelling (mostly for photographers) during my philosophy studies. I wasn't an agency top model going to catwalks or doing big budgets commercials ; my partners in crime were, mostly, arty independant photographers. Over the years I worked for very different projects though, some connected with fashion, some more personal projects or books or exhibitions or even photography classes.
I learned a lot and I thought a lot about things I experienced during this while. I noticed that other people, the ones who didn't pose, were acting funny with me. It was like, because I was a model, I wasn't a good person anymore. It took me years to realize that this was a symptom of what our society did to us, not only the models, but all the people.
How being a model made me an activist
One reflexion led to another and I remembered every time I had been street harassed, and connected them to the times when fake photographers were just willing to see girls naked. I remembered every morning when I would wake up and go to the subway and see the ads on the walls and these gorgeous thin and all-alike-looking women and say to myself : you little fat girl, and I realized anyone could hear that and maybe that was why they didn’t think I should be modelling - they didn’t think they should either. I slowly understood that, above all else, being represented didn’t feel right for everyone; and most of the people, as they weren’t represented, felt like if they got represented, they might be getting away with something.
And then I understood that any representation of any body was politic, that perfect bodies all over were a way to tell us, the people with regular bodies: you shouldn’t be here. You don’t belong here. The public space is not yours. If you want the public space, you’ll have to earn it. By being as we say you should be. And in order to do that, you will buy our stuff. Buy. Our. Stuff.
I also remembered how hard I’d seen people smash each other's heads for not being appropriate enough, covered enough, uncovered enough, and how silly it seemed - and how it was the very same thing as all the times I’d been called a whore, or a slut, or a wicked nymphomaniac, for modelling naked or half-naked. And it didn’t feel right at all.
I ended up seeing The Pose, that activity I had first start in order to feel more comfortable with myself, as a lens to my world’s disorders. Everything was so magnified that I couldn’t miss it anymore. I couldn’t unsee it. I wanted to talk about what I was doing to get people to understand what it was but I systematically ended up talking about consumption society, feminism, rape culture. About everyone’s lifes.
What would I have liked to know back to my 18th year of life ?
At the very same time, I would get a lot of emails from people who wanted to model themselves. They would ask me questions and I would answer as well as I could, but at some point I started looking up resources about being an alternative model. There were so many alternative models, and so many more every year - there must be something. But I couldn’t find anything at the time - anything that I could send and say “this is proper material, check out this”, at least.
So I just decided to make my own material about being a model. I wrote the book I would have liked to get when I first started, and I used every single advice I gave to question our relationship with body and image. And everything was a reason to think. And so, here I am, my book about alternative models in hands, with my three purposes : help young models through their beginnings ; explain to everyone (photographers, but also any audience) what it was to be a model and what was our work life ; and use all that to see society matters on a different perspective.
This story led to the conception of The Art of Pose - Dare to Love Yourself (and then make something out of it). Unfortunately, I’m french, so I wrote it in French. In order to share it with a larger readership, I need to have it translated. This is where I need you help. Modelling and writing are real jobs to me, and translating is a completely different one, wich I can’t do properly on my own. That’s why I asked Agnieszka to do it for us, and that’s why we need your help here.
Why should you care ?
I, as a model and the person who wrote the book, am obviously biased on why you should care about reading this. I definitely am. But I just want to say I started this project with a combination of frustration (based mostly on not being understood in my activity), anger (about what society does to all of us every single day), and hope (of making a change, as tiny as it would be ). Hope obviously won. I may be talking about models here, because that’s my area, but I couldn’t help but talking about humans. And as desperate to share what has been a passion and a living for me these last 8 years, I do think talking about it can lead to more wide-shared thoughts. And also, you might be interested in knowing how not every model is some full-of-self-confidence doll, and how most of them have actually trouble with their images. Maybe it will bring some perspective. Maybe it will bring some understanding between each other. Maybe you’ll find something completely different, something I didn’t plan you to - and if you do, I want you to tell me what.
What does the translator have to say ?
So. Why did I decide to work on this project ? Obviously like anyone else I do need money for my basic human needs like ̶s̶t̶r̶a̶w̶b̶e̶r̶r̶y̶ ̶m̶o̶j̶i̶t̶o̶s̶,̶ ̶r̶o̶u̶g̶e̶-̶n̶o̶i̶r̶ ̶n̶a̶i̶l̶ ̶p̶o̶l̶i̶s̶h̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶m̶i̶n̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶d̶i̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶L̶P̶’̶s̶ o̶f̶ ̶n̶e̶o̶f̶o̶l̶k̶ ̶b̶a̶n̶d̶s̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶’̶v̶e̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶b̶a̶b̶l̶y̶ ̶n̶e̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶h̶e̶a̶r̶d̶ ̶o̶f̶ rent and groceries. However when I started to read the book while looking at the gorgeous, eerie pictures illustrating it, I realized that it actually was written for me. Well not for me exactly, but the more I was reading it, the more it spoke to me.
I’m neither a model nor a photographer. I do happen to have a body, though. And it has been judged and commented upon by people offering unsolicited advice more times that I can remember. I’ve been called too skinny and too fat, a whore and a prude, my clothes put under a microscope. So no, I do not use my body at a professional level. But as a woman using such extraordinary territories like streets, clubs, bars or public transportation (and sometimes, even, without the monitoring of a man), I see how there are so many people thinking that our public image gives them some kind of rights upon us. And how our self-confidence can even start to depend on that external validation (or lack thereof).
So yes, of course, this IS a book about professional modelling and photography, but to me, above all, it tells the story of every person who has ever been judged and condemned because of the image they project. If you have at some point in your life been considered inappropriate because of your body or your clothes, if it has undermined your self-confidence, this book is for you too. This is why I really wanted to be part of this project. If I can both have ̶m̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶m̶o̶j̶i̶t̶o̶s̶ less frequent eviction notices AND spread some self-love and awareness, how could I say no to this ?
What is this damn thing about?
Here is the summary of the book so far :
1 Modelling : for whom, for what purpose ?
Body and marketing / Modelling and legitimacy / Modelling as a self-esteem catalyst / Cathartic modelling / Image and multiple representation : where the truth lies / From modelling as a self-help tool to activism
2 Before the shooting
Fantastic Photographers and where to find them / Faux-tographers and where (not) to find them / Designing your project / Making a consistent modelling portfolio / Art direction : who’s in charge ? / Who pays whom ?
3 During the shooting
From art model to photo model / The model-photographer relationship / On Communication / The «right» and the «feminine» pose: history of a myth / Placing your body / Expression and interpretation / Staging and accessories / On self-portrait
4 After the shooting
Experience your own image /Post-production and fidelity / Selection and publishing / Educating you artist’s gaze / Finding your place in communities
5 Make a living out of modelling
The model : legally invisible ? / A legislative void / Commission on sales : is it a solution ? (Hint : it isn’t) / Copyright and intellectual property 101 / Should you have a patron ?
6 The model as a public persona
From one person’s gaze to public gaze / Collective references and appropriation / When social media sharing gets intrusive / The society of the spectacle / Intimacy and the body / Nakedness and sexualisation / Let there be kindness / Dare to love yourself
Why do you need that much money again ?
Okay, I get it. What happens if the kickstarter's goal is exceeded?
We would like to release the ebook version on March 8th, for the International Day of Women's Rights, as a symbol. But if we rise more money than we need for the translation, that means we can think bigger. And that is
What kind of prints can I get while helping you out with that?
Here are the pictures (all taken by myself) you can have printed (see the reward section)
Risks and challenges
This project was my first attempt to write a book, which was my oldest dream ever. Since I was a little girl I dreamed to get my words out into the world - though I wasn't expecting them to be talking about nude models and consumption society at the time - and it happened. And HOLY SHIT it was a huge feeling.
This book was written from my French alternative model perspective, of course, and some of its parts may not be very useful for you people who live outside of France; I realize that. These issues can mostly happen in Chapter Five. That is why, while Agnieszka will be working on the translation of the beginning of the book, I'll be doing research and recasting that chapter to make it useful and interesting to everyone. Yay ! Rewriting !Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)