It’s been an emotional day.
Even now, I’m not sure what I’m going to write or how I’m going to begin. There are a few things I’d like to discuss in this post but I want to approach them gently, as gently as possible, anyway.
I was removed from one of my blogger groups this afternoon. No warning, no offlines, no “hey, Portia, I noticed you haven’t posted in a while” or even a “thanks for doing what you did but we need to keep our roster super-active,” kind of message. There was nothing and, I’m not going to lie, I took it hard as I have been covering this brand unofficially for many years. I’m still taking it hard, trying to get through the night by reminding myself to breathe through the ache in my throat and the stinging in the corners of my eyes.
It’s been hard for me to find the time to blog this month. All of us get busy and sometimes I’m jealous of the fact that many of the bloggers I admire find the time to post regularly, even frequently, when it’s been so hard for me to carve out a few hours to sit down and work on a picture. That’s what it is for me: hours. The picture you see above, which I love, took about three hours from start to finish, maybe a little longer because I had to reinstall Photoshop (thank you, Life). This post will take another hour to write because I’m not interested in posting a picture and credits. I won’t do it. It breaks my heart a little bit to think that if I’d just bent a little bit on that ‘rule’ of mine in the past, Mask and Mien could be doing better than it is now. I wouldn’t have let one of my favourite people in SL down the way I did.
Bloggers have a bad reputation in a lot of places, I know it, and I’ve listened to people characterizing bloggers as little more than lazy hangers-on that are only in it for ‘free stuff.’ I’ve heard models described in the same manner and with worse language. This is a subject that arises constantly regarding sponsorship of bloggers and models; some people are for it and some are against and, honestly, there are valid points on either side of the debate. What most of us forget sometimes is the fact that we’re all human. There are real, live people on the other side of the group chat box you’re typing into, ranting about this or that and their experiences factor into how they respond to your words. The avatar you’re complaining about isn’t just pixels – they’re human beings with lives that extend beyond the online world. They need to eat and sleep, work and play, just like everyone else. They have families and friends. Hell, sometimes they just want to watch tv or sit down and read a blog post. Just like you.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our own realities, so easy to dismiss other opinions and methods as simply wrong because they’re different from our own. I struggle with this on a regular basis, especially when it comes to fashion, blogging, and photography because I do put so much time and effort into my hobby. Every shot I take is the result of a ridiculous amount of scene styling and fiddling for just the right angle, just the right windlight to set the mood for my pictures. Accessories are fitted and resized, rotated and adjusted for gravity because 1) I know how to do these things and 2) I care about the images I present to the world. I take time to flip through (sometimes hundreds of) poses to find the one that best represents the outfit I’m showing and, again, the mood and theme of that styling. For a fashion show or a competition this takes even more work because there’s no photoshop to fall back to on the runway; the poses I choose need to be ‘prim perfect’ from every conceivable angle.
“Defensive much?” you might wonder – and the simple answer is .. well, kind of, actually.
Blogging isn’t easy, not even a little bit. I have a blog because I love writing, styling, and photography. I enjoy having a place to share my thoughts and, believe me, if I was looking for any way to save money in SL, fashion blogging and modelling wouldn’t be the way I’d choose to go. For every item that’s been passed to me for review I’ve purchased many more to bring that item to life, not because I’ve had to but because I love to do it. The creative process is what drives me and having or not having sponsors won’t change the quality of what I bring to Mask and Mien. It makes it easier, sure, but I believe in supporting talent over kissing ass. When I take the time to style an outfit or work on a blog post it’s because I care enough to take hours out of my day to make these words and images happen. In one year or in ten, I want to be able to look back over this blog and be proud of what Lucky and I have accomplished here.
I regret that this post isn’t especially happy and I regret even more that it’s been so long since my last entry. Mostly I’ve been sleeping at night like a regular person so I’m not terribly upset about it. 😉 I’ve been playing with my nephews and cuddling their adorable little faces off at every opportunity.
How do you feel about sponsorship? Have you thought about what it means for both bloggers and designers? How much control should designers have over the content of a blogger’s post? Where should we draw the line when bloggers fail to perform and meet their ‘blogligations?’ How do you think the partnership should be dissolved if and when it becomes necessary to part ways?
~ Credits ~
Skin Appliers: Lara Hurley-Christy Rose Pale *Catwa Appliers* ~ Lara Hurley
Head: CATWA HEAD Annie 4.9 ~ Catwa Clip
Mesh Ears: [MANDALA]STEKING_EARS_Season5 ~ Yokonosuke Eel
Mesh Body: Maitreya Mesh Body – Lara V3.5 ~ Onyx LeShelle
Mesh Hands: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands – Elegant1 ~ Siddean Munro
Makeup Appliers: Izzie’s – Catwa Tears ~ Izzie Button
Hair: .LeLutka.Clarice hair. ~ Thora Charron
Shirt: *COCO*_OffShoulderShirt(White)_Fitted_Maitreya_Lara ~ Cocoro Lemon
Skirt: PEQE – Indian Princess (Blue) ~ Inex Hax
Earrings: Chop Zuey ~ Mbielu Earrings ~ Belle Roussell
Pose: *PosESioN* Lingerie 1 ~ Dahriel
~ Set ~
Windmill: Wind water pump [G&S] ~ Sombra Magic
Grapes Trellis: Botanical – Grapevine Trellis Long ~ Kriss Lehmann
Bee Skeps: Infused Bee Hive [G&S] ~ Sahiela Lavendel
Grass: [we’re CLOSED] grass field lush ~ Wendy Xeno
Wildflowers 1: Heart Plants – Loosestrife – Summer ~ Lilith Heart
Wildflowers 2: Heart Plants – Daisies – Summer ~ Lilith Heart
Wildflowers 3: [we’re CLOSED] wild flowers ~ Wendy Xeno
Trees 1: Ka-la-na tree [G&S] ~ Sombra Magic
Trees 2: Jian – Ash Tree (Large) ~ Kalia Firelyte
Trees 3: Arbol / Tree [G&S] (V.1.2) ~ Sombra Magic
Y.B – sim surround landscape Dolin ~ Yony Bing