Monday, 24 August 2015

Get Creative: Just Do It!

By Maria Dunne

Selfies are often seen as narcissistic, vain and egotistical, but at ‘Workshop: Selfie Stories’ I met two women, Minna Gilligan and Natalie Tran, self-proclaimed ‘Defenders of the Common Selfie!’ who challenged that way of thinking.

The workshop started with both parties discussing their own experiences and views on their presence in social media. The atmosphere in the room was light and fun as everyone discussed their own creative ideas and dreams.

Natalie discussed how she tries to create personal connections through her videos by always ending those with her directly talking to the camera. It was interesting getting her views on this new way of storytelling. Natalie has been posting on Yuotube since its inceptionin 2006, creating quite a legacy for her Aussie counterparts. Her channel, Communitychannel, has now become one of the world’s most popular YouTube channels with over 1.6 million subscribers and over half a billion views. Her intimacy in her videos is one of the things that she believes makes her YouTube videos popular and relatable.

Maria Dunne (L), Natalie Tran (R)
Selfie by Maria Dunne.
Minna also has worldwide exposure. She is a Melbourne based artist who is an active member of Instagram and Tumblr. Her first book, TimeAfter Time: Flashback fashion for Modern-Day Play will be released in September. It features fashion-related drawings and pictures she has collected over many years. Her art has been shown in galleries around Australia as well as cities overseas such as Los Angeles and Ontario. Her Instagram images feature her playing with colours, textures and lightings and have been self-described as “strong vision and aesthetic”. In high school she started out creating self-portraits and was extremely influenced by Frida Khalo’s bold symbolic style, and she likens the selfie to the self-portraits.

Minna Gilligan (L), Maria Dunne (R).
Selfie by Maria Dunne.
Both of Minna and Natalie have been targeted, viciously, on social media at different times, partly as a result of their work with Selfies. Minna has been called unprofessional and there have been criticisms about women and their use of their images online. Natalie has been abused online and critics have questioned the authenticity of her views, saying things like “you only get views because you’re a girl”. Both speakers also spoke about the need to set boundaries around how much you share online.

The main message the workshop really emphasised, as the famous philosopher, Shia LeBeouf once said, was you need to “just do it!”. The creative industry is difficult but the regret of not trying and not telling your own personal story makes it worth the risk.

Everybody has a story and everyone’s story worth telling.

Edited by Anna Brasier

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