In July you may have noticed both Facebook and Instagram glitching out and acting weird, well so did I. My Facebook page was incorrectly flagged and my URL was blocked from both platforms.
I’m still unsure as to what exactly went down, but needless to say, it has meant that it is now even harder for creatives, particularly those in the niche industries such as photographers, burlesque performers, models, designers of burlesque costumes, event promoters….the list goes on. I’m not even mentioning all those that have ditched these platforms months ago because of extreme censorship. It makes me angry that at the end of the day it is the female body that is policed, censored and removed from the two biggest social media networks.
My photography business was born out of social media. Before I started charging money I returned to photography via a self-portrait project. It was fun, inspiring and conducive to creativity to be able to share directly with anyone around the globe that liked your work. I got recognition. I was interviewed and I won prizes. It spurred me to do what I am doing now and I finally felt like all the things I had done in the past to make money from my creativity led to this. It was a true culmination of my diverse skill set. That’s what I love about what I do and how I work. I can wear different hats yet still have focus and achieve a result or end goal.
I will be forever grateful for these platforms allowing me to creatively grow and build a following, but I am also angry. I’m angry that creatives are being silenced, censored and deleted. As if we are the enemy. I’m angry that wom*n’s bodies are censored to the point of being invisible. If we don’t conform to their rules, we will be deleted. Hashtags will be frozen or blocked, photos will be deleted, accounts will be temporarily or even permanently disabled. Rather than diverse body shapes and beauty being normalised, everything I stand for is being pushed to the fringes.
Now I’m not usually someone that has a problem with dwelling on the fringes, but the fringes or sub-cultures are what fuels the mainstream. It’s where new ideas are born, creativity blooms and rich thought spawns. I’m under no illusions that social media companies have a task on their hands to clamp down on the negative aspects of counter cultures, especially those that bred hatred and violence. Yet blanket censorship kills the very lifeblood of a thriving society. Artists and creatives are the backbone of our societal evolution. New ideas, visions, colour palettes, fresh ways of seeing and doing things are all crucial to a healthy, vibrant and forward-thinking population.
In the past few years, I have been guilty of self-censoring my work because I refuse to blur our nipples. Thinking like that as an artist is already not ideal and in these last few months, I have become extremely tired with having to even think about all this stuff. I not here to spend my days trying to figure out how to beat the algorithm, what time is the best time to post, wondering whether or not there is too much cleavage showing in a portrait. I’m here to create art. I’m here to show wom*n, to empower them to be visible and to take up space. I’m here to do all that on our terms. The only people that should have a say about how much is too much when it comes to bare skin, cleavage and nipples is the person in front of my camera and me.
Because of all this, I have finally set up a Patreon account. I yearn to create freely and without compromise. If you are not familiar with how Patreon works, I’ll be writing a details explanation in my new post, but the general idea is that there are different tiers and each tier comes loaded with rewards. My first tier is only $1 per month and you can opt-out whenever you like. For $1 a month you will get access to project updates, model call and castings, behind the scenes posts, photoshoot sneak peeks, early shoot tour travel updates and a personal thank you message.