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Taking the L

Every year I write an entry reflecting on myself and how great my year is and how great I have been in the past year. But as you scroll through my blog you'll see that last year has little to no entries. Quite sad really and as much as I love writing and posting pictures of myself, I have very little to round up apart from the amount of L's (losses) I truly took and you're about to read all about it. 

2018 was my first year of really being a post-graduate and I tell you what, it sucks. I don't think uni (or at least LCF) prepares you for whats to come, there was no advice and no mental prep for how to take things after graduating. And me, this happy-go-lucky-take-things-as-it-comes type of person really thought everything will be fine.
Leaving London was the saddest thing I had to do, but moving back home wasn't actually a bad thing because I absolutely love my family. But I did miss London so much. I would stay at my friends just to be able to stay in London and the problem with being in the industry is that, I had to be in London. It allowed me to be more accessible to agencies and teams to work. And the more I ended up staying in Southend and not having a place to stay in London, the more I became forgotten and overlooked. I started staying at home a lot more and would spend my time emailing out to different creatives, magazines and agencies for both my photographic and retouching work. I'd sit at home and I'd send out at least 20 emails a day, introducing myself, coming up with shoot ideas or asking for any assisting work. And heard nothing.

Losing self-esteem after eczema took over, sounds crazy but I'm talking all over my face and body. I was in so much pain where it was literally raw skin and bleeding all over. And not only that, it really suppressed my self esteem and I am a fairly confident person. I've lived with eczema my whole life but never to the extent of not wanting to do anything because of the pain I was in. I tried so many different treatments to help it and nothing was working for a long time, I went to A&E twice because of the pain and had to deal being patronised by the woman at triage directly asking me "what do you think we can do for you here?" It sounds silly to feel so bad because of eczema but it flared up so fast all over my face and body, it was horrid and I truly wouldn't wish it on anyone.
I'll be writing a separate entry about my eczema too as many people have been asking me about how I managed to calm it - you can see gruesome pictures then.

Lack of interest was shown in my new photographic work; it was seen as clean and beautiful images and I used to take advantage of my bright, white flat with big open windows and high ceilings, my flat was my studio. But my style of work slowly developed from that, in the beginning of 2018 where I discovered a taste of tackiness, something a little bolder than what I was shooting and more documentary focused; a lot of people didn't like it and wanted to work with me if I "shot my old stuff" and I didn't want to go back to that. I experimented a lot with this style of photography and it developed from shooting my final major project for uni, called 01702. A project I shot which documented young teenage girls from 13-17 years old, from my hometown Southend-on-sea. It's still a project that I am working on and developing but a very slow process.

Ladies of Leisure was the first story I shot which was an idea that sparked from 01702. My shoot and was hugely inspired by adults like my uncle who'd take hideous selfies with unflattering angles and outtakes where everyone was not 'ready for the camera.' I truly thought the idea was genius - but maybe that's just my ego? actually no, I still think it was a great idea. It was a beauty shoot that I put so much of my time in developing and planning. I wanted it to kick off. And the issue with fading from the little circle of networks I had and not having a name for myself was that people were not interested in understanding the concept and the depth of this story. It was a beauty shoot of modern classic faces, at their most ugly contradicting the concept of a beauty shoot and challenged a stereo-representation of an aristocratic demographic of economy. Hence the beautiful location shots and close-ups of sculptures, and of course the styling and make up.

Lost Kayla to New York, my work-wife and partner in crime had to move back home, unwillingly of-course. Something I truly took for granted is being able to have a friendship and have a great level of understanding with that person when working is something hard to find. Kayla moving away brought on another factor to why I stopped shooting because finding a make up artist you can rely on is a long process. But I am grateful to have developed and shot Ladies of Leisure with her.

Lost Pepo to Chile, my best friend and true soul mate. When people say that you meet your friends for life in uni, I disagreed because I have all my closest friends from my childhood. As negative as it was, I went into uni not wanting to make friends, but to learn and network my way up in the world. I was just fortunate enough to live my three years of education with someone I never thought would match my personality, take all my negativity and STILL be so positive, and laugh so much with me. I have truly met my match with Pepo and finding out he had to leave the day before his flight was the most saddest thing. I always said to him I'd never cry when he'd leave, because of the black hearted emotionless person that he described me as. But I cried the whole journey of the Piccadilly line during rush hour.

Laura Ashley hired me as their freelance retoucher which was amazing news, but due to bad management my successful interview that secured 2 days a week, became 2 days a month if I was lucky. I couldn't believe I had literally been hired and dropped because they were clueless in their own work. Yes I know it sounds like I just got fired because of whatever reason. CORRECTION, management were truly unaware of my role, schedule and the necessity of me being there considering the high workload and backed up deadlines that they had. It sucked to have been hired and demanded to then just being let down from what was promised.

Lastly, my laptop broke. It was mid December and my Macbook wouldn't turn on, to any creative or in fact any person who owns an Apple product, this is probably one of the biggest woes because you already know that this is going to cost you a goddamn bomb. It sucks. And when it happened, I didn't even react, it was almost as if I was expecting one last hurrah for 2018 to dick me over and it did. But the one thing I do have to mention is Creative IT who specialise in fixing Apple products, who have extremely great customer service and just that little bit cheaper than Apple, have really out done themselves and fixed my laptop twice in a row now, after wanting to give up the repair because it was too difficult, they carried on until they could fix my motherboard - because they were aware that I couldn't afford a replacement, saving me £350.
If that's not customer service, I don't know what is.

2018 has been probably one of my worser years and I haven't had to deal with being pushed back so much in one year before. I wanted to write this entry because I think social media has gotten so engrossed with achievements and all the fake successes, I thought I'd reign it in a bit and be honest about what an awful year I've had. But I got through it and I'm back to working with exciting new projects for 2019 that I am super excited to see flourish. Although I took a lot more losses than wins, I have to end this post with my greatest achievement of 2018 which was having the opportunity to retouch Lily Allen's recent autobiography book cover which I am very proud of.

Happy New Year!

© Cinsy Tam


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