Editor’s Letter: Intermission
One thing I read this semester that simultaneously blew my mind and helped contextualize my ideas and projects is Susan Sontag’s “Notes on Camp.” Brought to my attention through The Best Class Ever, this text is included in the “Collection of Best Essays of the 20th Century” – but don’t just take my word or that publisher’s word for it, The Met agrees. By May, Sontag just might become a household name since this year’s Met Gala theme is “Camp: Notes on Fashion” based on this 1964 essay that had such an unexpected influence on me.
In an effort to pay respect to this essay (and to distract myself from thinking about what Lady Gaga will be wearing to the Met Gala), here are some notes on what’s been going on in my head and otherwise:
Being informed about creative projects makes them better. Always.
You can be focused without being overwhelmed. Also, there is no right way to be “busy.” Also, being busy is not (!) a status symbol.
Putting in a lot of work to get to a finish line that is far away can be exhausting at times. Like you’re on a treadmill that has no off switch, an actual nightmare of mine. Especially when there aren’t milestones along the way, it’s hard to remind yourself that the mere processes of thinking about, doing, and making things are accomplishments of their own. Even still, it makes me nostalgic for the glory days of elementary school, when eating a snack (Goldfish and apple juice, anyone?) was literally awarded with stickers and overwhelming praise.
Not everything you make is going to be good. It may actually be the exception that a project turns out how you had idealized it in Ye Olde Mind’s Eye.
Being intentional about where energy is spent has allowed for me to invest my whole self in doing something I love and making things I’m proud of.
The projects that consumed so much time this semester were all incredible lessons. They were the culmination of concepts that I had been sitting on for a really long time and seeing them come to life and having tangible outcomes feels really great.
These outcomes will be exciting to share with the publication of NOW 2019 in the Spring, but in the meantime here’s a peek behind the curtain at what has been going on and what the inspiration was
“Primary Auras,” an editorial piece inspired by David Batchelor’s essay Chromophobia about how theorizing and disrupting “white space” is important and necessary.
“Philosophy of Style,” an interview and personal style feature on the mythic figure of Beatrix Ost, a timeless feature of the Charlottesville community.
“Miles to Go,” an editorial featuring Michelle Miles, who has inspires me exponentially more the more I get to know her. I attempted to do justice to her beauty through a Richard Avedon inspired shoot, emphasizing the concept of taking up space with unusual silhouettes.
“Look Again,” a revisionary “Western” (think John Wayne, but feminist and more beautiful) that questions what it means to be a hero by having unexpected figures dominate a “landscape.”
The process of trying to understand Sontag’s “Camp” has allowed for me to see everything in “quotes.” This has helped me to see my work and passions through a new lens, one that takes fashion, style, art, beauty, social media, etc. in a way that is serious only until it needs to be. Knowing where and when to draw the line is so refreshing. Also @virgilabloh I get your thing now.
Some clichés that have been really relevant lately include but are not limited to
Allowing myself to expand my tastes and challenge my aesthetic style
Approaching new projects without expectations other than “I will learn something”
Letting things be funny when they just.are because that is how the whole pretentious bubble around fashion and creativity can be burst.
After this pause, I’m looking forward to
Shifting my focus from photoshoots (all the time!) to writing (all the time!)
Synthesizing all of the lessons from these past few months into new ones.
Building on technical skills like graphic design and the research process
Putting all of these things online means I have to follow through on them. Right??
Listening to things that articulate my thoughts and emotions better than I ever could is really great too. The proof is in the 92,000 minutes of Spotify that I have listened to in the past year. Also – always play music on set. LISTEN UP, HERE!
Cover Image by Sam Rock for Khaite NY