Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shoot That Shug : Me as a model #7

On a sunny Saturday I woke up at 7.00 am. People close to me sure know that my most loved activity on earth is sleeping, so to wake me up this early during a non-working day, you really have to motivate me. Frank Busch did find the way to change my habit inviting me to shoot in a very special place. 

Us, French have such a reputation abroad. My peers and I are considered effortlessly chic and seductive. Even our capital is considered the most romantic in the world and I don't even want to speak about our language. It was not even a few days ago while speaking, someone told me "be it in German or English, I really love hearing your French accent, there is something so sensual about it" . I guess this sentence that can be said to any of my fellowcountrymen expresses how much French appeals as a fascinating language. No wonder then, when discovering the location of our shooting was called Bel-Ami I couldn't help but giving a hint of a smile.
I don't know if this place was named after Guy de Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami but I find this choice utterly evocative whether you know or not Georges Duroy, the hero of the book. You don't need to speak French nor to know that Maupassant's hero is the most charming scoundrel on earth- read your professional gigolo- to understand the meaning of these two words. What matters is the fact that put together they imply love and desire to foreigners. 

So what if I told you the owner of this exuberant location did a great job naming it this way? Frank did only tell me the morning we went shooting that Bel-Ami was actually a strip-tease club and love hotel*, a place meant for love and desire. Thanks to photography I am having all kind of experiences. Some years ago I would have cringed if I were to shoot in such a place but instead it made me curious and above all, what mattered was the location met our expections for the photos. 
Few weeks ago while taking breakfast with Frank we discussed about a burlesque inspired shooting. Even before knowing the purpose of this club, I was totally mesmerized by its hushed atmosphere which perfectly matched our theme. Burlesque being a mix of theatre, strip-tease and subtile seduction, I believe Bel-Ami was the best choice ever. 

I was wondering how the heck will I be able to have this poise burlesque performers have, but soon after we started shooting this thought didn't matter anymore as I was looking to enhance my own poise (if ever I do have some) while taking advantage of our magnificent setting.

I selected three pictures of our shooting which according to me show you different sides of femininity.

I believe Frank did a really great job in finding this location. Setting the right light to shoot was tricky for him since there was no natural light, nonetheless he managed to work it out pretty well, don't you think? What I appreciated the most about this shooting was the fact that eventhough we had in mind burlesque the final result of our collaboration is really cinematographic.

I am completely fond of the second picture for its game with the mirror and rightly because amongst the three chosen it is the most reminiscent of a movie scene from the 40's or 50's. And you, what's your favourite one?

*Prostitution is legal in Germany which I find great to avoid human exploitation. I knew the concept of love hotels from Asia but I never went to a place such as Bel-Ami before this shooting. In Asia, mostly couples are going to these hotels that are furnished with everything to have pleasure with your partner, but at Bel-Ami it was a mix between couples going there and people coming for the girls. It looked like a mix of brothel and love hotel. 

All pictures by Frank Busch
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Do clothes hold your charisma?

Charisma: a special power that some people have naturally that makes them able to influence other people and attract their attention and admiration. Cambridge dictionary.

Charisma: Influence on people of a person who is endowed with prestige and an exceptional power of seduction. Larousse dictionary

Each time I am thinking about charisma, there is a particular day coming to my mind: the one when I meet for the first time a photographer. I particularly remember an encounter with one who mentioned that he was surprised after having seen some of my pictures by a fellow photographer. He couldn't believe the short-sighted and bookworm girl he was having a coffee with was actually this girl:

Picture by Alan Cat
Admit there is a huge difference between the girl on the picture above and the dorky one below (dear readers, this is the real me when I go do my groceries and all things similar.  All my outfits in Moodstyle Monday also embody me but when I am at least 10-15 km away from my home...but well I can also show up like this when particularly lazy, which happens too often :D) .

Picture by Marco Trinchillo

People are often surprised when they discover I model because I A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y have no special aura that makes you stare at me, admire me or whatever. I am no Naomi, no Gisele, no Kate, I am just your girl next door. The comment this photographer made didn't offend me but instead made me think about the notion of  charisma when I am in front of a camera and when I am not. I had a good chat on the topic with Absolute.B- do you remember, my partner in crime when I started this blog?- who was telling me I actually have some charisma also in real life. Dear readers, you may not have realized yet but I am so shallow!  My ego got all crazy when she told me so. If you tell me Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Cyd Charisse, Eartha Kitt, here are women who, in my opinion, really had poise and charisma. So to picture myself at the same level as them was exciting for a second but then laughable. Nonetheless I couldn't avoid linking Absolute.B's opinion to the way I dress. I don't pretend to dress well but since clothing is a matter of taste I can't help thinking that wearing what you like boost your charismaOn a picture, what you see is a setting, a certain attitude, it's almost like acting to me, but in real life it is difficult to have charisma. You don't pose, there is no setting to put you at your best. Clothing is of course a way to express yourself but it also is a recipient of your charisma, if you feel good and  confident in what you are wearing the way you walk, talk, even your gesture and whole figure are likely to become more gracious without you noticing.

I arrived in Munich with nothing but a suitcase which is not much considering it's been nine months I have been there running around in the same clothes. You wouldn't believe me if I told you how much this fact affected my personality. Being without my clothes has for sure affected my sartorial self. I would have cared less about fashion if I had ALL my clothes with me to play every character I wished to every morning. The problem didn't lie in me going crazy because I couldn't buy any clothes but wearing every day the same outfits made me feel I was loosing little by little my personality and charisma. All this probably explains why, I am currently ecstatic -when I don't even like shopping- each time I enter a shop and end up buying more than I am used to. I feel like what I am buying is worth my personality, my charisma which I got deprived of because I couldn't bring all my belongings with me. I knew I was shallow but not to this extent...

 And you are you as shallow as me? Do you consider your clothes hold your charisma?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I-A-M B-A-C-K!

I am back, finally. This long hiatus has been necessary, really. I didn't think moving and finding my first job as well as my own pace in München could have made it so hard to just have the time to sit and reflect. I sincerely missed writing out there, but my absence also proved me that I have people that really care about Incognito which makes me proud. I just love the bonds I create thanks to this little space of mine and that is precisely why I felt so bad not being able to write out there.

So what's up now I am back?

The essence of the blog won't change, it will stay a place in which I share my point of view on fashion, culture, femininity and photography but with some little twists.

Photography has been part of my life for a little bit more than 6 years now. Writing about it here and on my Tumblr made me realize how it influences my perception of things and life. If not for photography I wouldn't have thought this deeply about my femininitySo far I didn't share a lot about my shootings because if I showed you my portfolio, you would think I spend my life naked. So pardon my nudity and bare with a nipple from here and there for the sake of telling you about my experience, my point of view and above all for the sake of having a good chat with you. Finally though this space is very egocentric, I will obviously keep on introducing you to great photographers, so keep an eye on Shoot That Thursday!

Picture by Alan Cat

I'm always talking about femininity and yet I didn't write that much in Le Petit Salon but I promise I'll be diligent!  I don't believe I am a feminist nonetheless I definitely love being a woman- except when I have a hormonal disorder that makes me feel like a pregnant woman minus the nine months thing- that is why you will hear more about the women inspiring me, burlesque and most probably about vapid girls' issues that caught my attention like why for an ad promoting a smartphone subscription I have to see when taking the tube the attractive and clever picture below.

I will also keep on with my Little Black Diary. I am absolutely not a palladin of black power and beauty, but I am convinced that sharing my point of view with you on my being French with cameroonian roots will lead to an interesting journey. 
Italy is sure not the most open-minded country when it comes to diversity but Germany is also surprising in its own way regarding melting-pot. It seems like here I can't just answer "I am French" when asked where I am from because then comes this one: "yeah but where are you originally from?" which is kind of a strange question to me since I AM and feel utterly French though my skin colour obviously tells otherwise. I firmly believe that a skin colour or slanting eyes (or whatever the physical aspect) cannot tell the whole story of an individual. Nowadays so many people have different backgrounds that I find it arguable to reduce a person to some physical specifities. Through this section I am talking about my own experience but I hope that people having different stories will also react. So to sum up my Little Black Diary, let me tell you: I am definitely much more than what I am embodying in the picture below.

Picture by Kfb

Finally, it was not possible not to mention fashion, did you forget? Incognito is a fashion blog! While I will keep on writing about how I perceive it I thought that now that I am working in this industry I should tell you about my current job. If you didn't know yet I am a fashion product editor
It's been three months I have started and I am learning a lot. I haven't studied anything related to fashion but it has been a passion of mine for some time now, however between having a huge interest for this world and working in it, there is a huge gap. Through my telling you about my tasks I just want to show you this leap I did. A new section is on the making, so stay tuned!

Ah, last but not least, I will now post once a week on the definite days of Incognito calendar that you can find here. In the days I won't post I'll try to stay active on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! So welcome back dear readers!

Rendez-vous sur Hellocoton !

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014, hopefully A LOT better than 2013

The 31st of January 2013 is a memorable one for me as I spent it by myself wondering where the heck I'll be sleeping in the following days. I wasn't supposed to spend it alone but a firecracker exploding right in front of my face at the exit of the Hauptbanhof (train station) of Munich convinced me I should go back to the place I was sleeping. In Germany they celebrate New Year's Eve with fireworks which I don't mind but firecrackers are something else to me. So I spent the first hours of 2014 being terrified that some other damned firecrackers would burst next to me. But this wasn't enough. Even when inside, the sole sound of them scared the hell out of me bringing me back in Cameroon when my family and I got attacked. I could feel the gun one of the thief put right on my head and I still could hear the sound of their guns shooting on the poor lad that tried to help us. Because these little things meant to celebrate have the same sounds as those damned gunshots...
So, for spending my first day of 2014 this way, I deeply hate Germany. Traditions are traditions and when celebrating the New Year, I understand people acting crazy, getting drunk, going out and so on, I mean I would have been really glad to spend this night surrounded by German people and observe how they celebrate but what the heck with the firecrackers at every corner of the streets?! It makes it so unsafe in my opinion. Yeah, German's New Year's Eve way of celebrating is A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y not my cup of tea.

So as to a positive and fresh start it wasn't, until I read a message from my dear friend Swati. It is funny how just words whatever the distance and the cultural differences can make you feel better. That's what Swati's message to wish me a Happy New Year did on me.

I am French so don't mind it if my first post of the year starts with a good ranting. After all it's in our DNA to rant about pretty much everything isn't it (you don't know how much I love using all those clichés about my country and its people, it comforts so much after venting out everything :D)?

Despite starting off the year quite dramatically, I must say that 2014 sounds better than 2013 which was full of sad events but really great professionally and as to meeting new people:

  • I now work as a fashion product editor and will be able to stuff myself with the finest asian food as soon as my bank account will be filled. I know there is no correlation between my present job and food, but instead of telling you about all the beautiful or not so beautiful things I see everyday (because luxury doesn't necessarly means good taste), I prefer staying as I am: down to earth and satisfy my most primary desire which as you know is eating.
  • I started again writing on my Tumblr about photography, Shoot That Shug, because I missed all the interactions I had with the people there and it seems like since I came back some pretty amazing photographers and models popped out from nowhere.
  • I finally have a place I can call home after six months, though not perfect, still I have a roof and that is a blessing given that getting a job in Munich is probably easier than finding your own flat.

I am really bad at keeping up with resolutions hence why I didn't make a list, nonetheless I have some things in the back of my mind I would like to accomplish hence why I would like to announce that Incognito will be on standby for some time. Be it 1 or 2 months but I need this period of time to be able to settle things up in my non virtual life to make things work in my virtual one. Once I will be done with this, I promise to write here on Incognito once a week and to be better at communicating with you on Twitter and Facebook.

All this doesn't mean I won't be present virtually so feel free to follow me on Tumblr because it is just impossible for me to stop writing. So if I am not on Incognito I am on Shoot That Shug! You can also write me on Twitter and Facebook, I would be more than glad to communicate with you!

Finally thank you all for following me! It seems like though I am a very irregular blogger some of you still stick around and for this I am really thankful!

Happy New Year to all of you!


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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Money, money, money, will you change my fashion personality?

As already said in a previous post, as of January I will be starting earning my own living. Since then, plenty of thoughts have been in my mind and today I have decided to share some of them with you but only fashionably speaking. As a student I have always shopped where everybody does : Zara, H&M, Pull & Bear brief, these famous low-cost brands renowned for their ability to copy as fast as possible what is done in high fashion. During the time I was blogging I read a lot of critics about bloggers having a sudden change of style. From a wardrobe only composed of low-costs clothes, they now have a full room filled only with branded ones. Often these critics happen when these bloggers become famous or simply when they get a job with a better pay. That is why lately I have been wondering if getting a proper income will change my shopping habits. Will I indulge myself some really expensive fashion treats? Will money influence my style? Therefore my article's title and my listening non-stop to ABBA. 

Reading this blog you probably have noticed that I don't speak a lot about high fashion brands. Not that I don't like them but I simply consider high fashion an inspiration. "But sweetie, you are pointing out the obvious ! High fashion exists for this very reason : inspire." That's what a part of myself is saying to the other one (because I do have a lot of these kind of conversations with myself). That's true, I totally agree, it's obvious but at the same time I can't help thinking that in the era we are currently living, high fashion is not anymore here only to inspire but it has also become much more reachable. Whereas before a privilege for the well-off, it seems like in the era of internet high fashion is now accessible to more people. It has become so accessible that now dsigners of the best fashion houses even work together with low-cost brands to satisfy this desire of luxury and H&M should immediately come to mind when thinking about this topic. So where I stand now in this discussion? Well, nowhere. Before answering this way, I did have a lot of thoughts. Did I ever desire owning something from high end brands? Not really. What I love about haute couture is the concept behind a collection, what inspire the designer to create it, how a mix of things can give birth to clothes. After digging for all this, then come the pleasure to admire the work.

But that's not totally true that I won't buy high fashion. Again if you read that blog you'll know that I have a slight obssession for South Korea and its high fashion designers. I believe my infatuation for fashion in this country comes from the fact that designers there do not only have people born with a silver spoon in their mouth in mind, but they also care about plebeians (I do love using this word, after all I didn't study latin 10 years for nothing) like me and you. The wishlist I made few weeks ago is a reflection of myself wanting to own something high fashion, but something high fashion from South Korea. I did select pieces from Dim. E Cres. the affordable sporty line of Cres. E Dim. but before doing so I carefully checked the prices of the main line by Kim Hong Bum. At my surprise, whereas I wouldn't spend a penny on Alexander Wang clothes (whom I adore) I found myself thinking about sparing some money to get some clothes by Cres. E Dim. That is how I realized that I would rather buy clothes from designers in South Korea than buying from A. Wang or Chanel because while looking at their collections I really feel closer to their mindset: that is a mindset in which luxury is conceived with in mind people coming from different social backgrounds.

Whereas I am attracted by their high fashion, asian people, korean people included, prefer buying from european brands with a strong identity and History. I guess for them the concept of luxury is really linked with the fact that european brands have deep roots in the past. I believe that a Louis Vuitton bag is fascinating for them not only because it is from Europe but also and more importantly because though really on trend it is an heritage of a savoir-faire, a technique, a tradition that only belong to Louis Vuitton. I believe korean high fashion brands don't appeal to its people rightly because they lack this fascinating element that is History.
As for me, I am not sick of tradition, but being a literature and History lover, I tend to consider what I see in Europe as piece of art I would only get to see if I go in a museum therefore fashion in Europe for me is inspiration. In Asia the concept of high fashion is more recent and I like to see how despite the globalization, korean designers are apart. Basically buying something from CRES. E DIM. would mean to me that I am trying to understand more the culture of South Korea that is why I would be willing to pay a high price if it means that I'll be more cultured.

And as usual, forgive me, Dear Readers, for I have sinned. You all know me and my damned odd digression let's come back to the core of this post and answer this existential question: will money influence my style? HELL YEAH! If this influence means money giving me the power to buy what I couldn't afford before then let me say it again HELL YEAH! But though it will surely influence my fashion I will always stay true to myself. I mean, I have been blabbering about how much I am craving for CRES. E DIM., a high fashion brand totally inaccessible to me, but a brand that I am ready to pay the price for because eventhough now my style doesn't reflect it (blame it on the lack of money), I really love minimalism, especially korean minimalism not to say. That is why now, I can't get myself to blame those bloggers whose style according to people suddenly changed, because I don't believe that this change was actually sudden. But this is already another topic there!

If you are in my case how was your transition, fashionably speaking, from the insecure state of intern (or student) to full-time employee?
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Photographer : Benjamin Rosser #2

Few time ago I introduced you to the photographer Ben Rosser by showing you a portrait in B&W by him. This time I chose a totally different picture with a total different atmosphere. I chose a picture from his trip to India. I believe my infatuation for his photographs from this trip was due to my dear friend Swati. I often say that to have an interest for a country I need to fall in love with its language, but in the case of India, it is mainly thanks to Swati and our friendship that I started developing an interest for her country. She introduced me to some great indian blogs and among them there is wearabout, a streetstyle/cultural indian blog. The blogger behind it goees from region to region and takes pictures of people and interview them. So far by reading it I have learnt SO many things. Of course I am very ignorant about India but each time I am on his blog I spent hours reading about the different ethnies componing India, the dialects, I even end up on Wikipedia, Google or Youtube looking for the songs of the musicians he photographed.
So seeing Benjamin's pictures probably reminded me of all this though he is not from India.

It has been a long time since I didn't hang out with a photographer until I met Frank Busch. Talking with him about photography is really interesting as well as seeing how he perceives the world. His eye is like a camera itself. The few times we met even when talking to me, he couldn't help but always finding something worthy of being captured. I envy to all photographers this capacity of seeing what us, people that are not endowed with a photographic eye, cannot notice. And the picture I am going to introduce you to is exactly about that.

Photographer: Benjamin Rosser or Ben Rosser
Ben's site: 

What I am seeing. Usually when taking a picture the subject is on the center. But here on Benjamin's picture what is on the center is only there to lead the way to the real subject. On the center of the photograph we see first a shadow, then the feet belonging to this shadow. It is most probably a man. I imagine him belonging to the working class because his feet look quite worn out by the daily walking he must do everyday in these sandals. His pace indicates that he is in movement and won't stop walking. But while I am noticing this, my eye is attracted on the left side by a colour totally different from the ones componing this picture. From the warm and brown tones composing the shot, something white suddenly pops out in front of my eyes. It is a little girl. She is on the ground and I cannot tell why. All I know is that I cannot take my eyes off of her. And no wonder she has such a captivating glance! She doesn't look at the camera but her pupils are like small diamonds shining on her tiny face. Is she in deep thoughts? Is she tormented? I cannot tell. The only thing I know is that despite her dirty clothes and face, she looks like an apparition, she looks pure, and those eyes...Really I can't take my eyes off of her.

Funny thing is that she is not on the center of the picture and I thank Benjamin to have chosen this angle, because for me this shot is just surreal. This little girl just look like a little creature, so fragile and yet so strong. Fragile because she is here seated on the ground with all these people coming back and forth and who don't seem to absolutely notice her and strong because she has such expressive eyes. Eventhough she doesn't look at us, we can't help but being fascinated by her.
Again the subject, the little girl, is not on the center of this picture and Benjamin didn't consider necessary to show the child in her totality. We cannot see her hands nor her feet, all we have are her piece of clothing and her face. But that's all we need and that precisely why this shot holds so muchc intensity.

What attracted the most your attention on this photograph? Let me know below in the comments!
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