There's a word that gets used A LOT in marketing, publishing and social media circles right now: INFLUENCER. The magical title bestowed upon those who have the ability to influence the behaviour or opinions of others. Brands want to work with them. Bloggers, Instagrammers and You Tubers want to be known as them.
It's a modern phenomena I'm not entirely at ease with.
I've spent a fair few years now, blogging & podcasting and social media-ing (totally a word). I've also been lucky enough to work behind the scenes with several brands brave enough to let me loose on projects and campaigns. A few years ago I started to quietly express my discomfort at a status quo that didn't feel right. A lot of white women. A lot of women in a narrow window of BMI that wasn't entirely achievable. A lot of straight women. A lot of women who on the surface appeared to live in a much more financially secure environment than I did.
I got more committed to my supposed influence.
If I am going to be the photographer or story teller, where I choose to direct that focus becomes a loaded dice, especially if it remains in the echo chamber of straight, beautiful, middle class, whiteness and what we are meant to aspire to. I sure as hell don't aspire there. If you do, let me know the appeal? Really. I did the school run today and realised I have a rip in the ass of my jeans that I bought on sale. I'm not getting it.
Because out there are beautiful women, rocking 40 and looking fierce with it:
There's women who breezed past 40 and nailed their 50s with a style I find inspiring:
There's queerness that is breathtakingly beautiful and needs to be known to exist:
There's Single Mama's who are my rock and are so beautiful I could weep:
There's a way of representing love that doesn't exclude age, disability, single parent families and a passion for politics:
If we are going to be so excited about influence, can we use it beyond our own means? Can we maybe not just focus on our own following and think about the women out there who we can very literally raise up? There's an exciting community out there that, personally, I find very inspiring. Gimme a few minutes while I work out how best to capture them though, hey? It's a challenge I'm really relishing if I'm honest.