Congratulations, again.

Once again, you’ve selected. And once again I’m reminded how rare it is that my 5 shades of brown family is ideal representation.

I comb through the albums, scrutinizing the many beautiful faces contained there. Each child unique, each child special. I linger at my favorites – the kids who immediatly captivate with infectious smiles, quirky features, freckle sprinklings, or that indescribable “it” factor that says star. The competition is often tough – if only judging the children.

But usually, these contests are advertised as part model magic and part photographer product.  I’d assume,then, that the child who wins does so because his portrait is amazing: crisp, lit well, staged to perfection – especially if the prize is publication or opportunity to receive products to model.  And yet, it seems there’s a caste system in this circuit. The best quality photo, the best showcased personality doesn’t always get the kudos.

Those at the top are long haired children with pale skin and bright colored eyes. Next, the children whose ethnicity is obscured by wild locks, vibrant eyes, soft tanned skinned, or any combination of these.  Occasionally,  an exotic child with uncommon features rises up in admiration. Last, though, seem to be the children of Black heritage.

Is there no marketability for these children?  Aren’t there consumers who identify with these models?

If I were to speak out, as one friend suggested, what would I say?  To call for diversity might be seen as a demand for some type of model quota.  And I’m not sure that’s what is needed.  But I’m always in awe when businesses have not a single face like ours in any of their advertising, or when every page of a magazine presents the same mold of child. 

I don’t expect to “win” them all. In one  competition,  I was rooting for another child (and her photographer ). The ‘tween is stunning. Confidence radiates from her. And her look? Straight out of a major editorial for a fashion magazine.  Though she was entered in a best of competition for several categories,  she wasn’t even recognized as an honorable mention.   I remain awed that her pictures didn’t earn publication.

And some of those who took top honors? Blurry, cluttered, color cast. How is that even permissible? What publication of merit will survive with subpar pictures?

As for the shops, I wonder if there is a consensus that people of color don’t buy from boutiques?  I hardly think there was a poll, or that demographics of customers support the generalization. There’s money to spend and fashion is a bridge across cultures and ethnicity. Not to showcase diversity in advertising, though, might lead clients to seek out creatives who do.

Frankly, I’m tired of the playing favorites. Contests, bookings, and publication shouldn’t be about who you know (or how much support you can buy).  There has to be some merit for quality and originality.  A great photo is worth the risk of breaking free of the “trendy.”  It’s the difference that makes memorable impact.

Frozen in time: no Disney here

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I’ve worked a bit these past two years on shoots alluding to movies of the mainstream variety. I could argue that since I rely quite heavily on the novel descriptions and not on the cinematic adaptations, that I’m shooting my way through popular literature. Very slowly. As in, one or two shoots a year. Lately, […]

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Snow day for five

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We ordered up a little snow for the five to enjoy.  It started early,  while I sat scrutinizing my peacock painting at Cheers. First, it looked pretty sparse, just a few flakes wafting through the air before settling and melting. But then, they came faster and began to stick. Suddenly, there was a blanket of […]

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The parting of the sea

I remember it clearly: Mel handed my mom a box on Christmas morning. Tav and she were “making rounds” to their list of must appear on holidays folk. Mom opened her box with a mixture of trepidation and excitement – the kind that comes from not knowing what natural reaction will read on her face […]

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I shot her…

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And it felt good. You see, RiAnne and I were given the opportunity to work with an online vendor who sells beautiful pieces at reasonable prices. And because she trusted us, we really wanted to give her our best. But Ri and headbands don’t always agree. This time, though, she really worked with me and […]

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SWF: Enough

Enough. Six letters proclaiming it’s over. Stop the fighting, stop the whining. There’s nothing left to see here. Fed up, filled up to breaking. It’s not in you to quit? There’s no saving this here thing. Call a truce, a cease fire. Enough is enough, it’s over now.

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