When models approach me to do a shoot for them, I always ask them a vital but all-too-often neglected question: What is the story you are trying to tell?
Then I tell them - be the story. It's like method acting for models.
Since prehistoric times, oral tradition(read: storytelling) was the way parents taught lessons to their children, generation after generation. Stories were told to instruct, to guide, to entertain. Stories are our way of trying to make sense of our crazy lives.
With the advent of photography in the 19th and 20th centuries, photography (and videography) has become modern storytelling - Storytelling 2.0, if you will. Magazines and visual media tell us stories about what we should look like. News outlets tell us stories about what we should be afraid of. Corporations tell us stories about what we need to buy.
I'm not going to get all conspiracy theory on you. I just want you to think for yourself.
What is the story that is being told about you? What are your photos on Instagram and Facebook telling about you? And, more importantly, is that the story you want told?
Between the Netflixing and the chilling, I feel many of us have lost our way. We don't take an active stance in our storytelling. And unfortunately for us, too many others - bosses, corporations, parents, family - are more than eager to tell our story for us.
We need to take back control. We need to be our own PR firm.
When a loved one passes, it's the photos that remain long after their spirit has arisen from the corpse that tell their story. Let's take our stories back from the ones who have co-opted them for their own purposes. Let's own our story. Let's live it every day.