I’m known as Veronika Gypsy, but everyone just calls me, V.
While I’ve been helping out behind the scenes for awhile here at DGM, this is the first article I’ve written. Your editor and I know one another because we both do photography with alternative models and we tend to hear some really amazing stories. As we got to talking, he suggested that I write for you because, with a little ingenuity, I can tell stories that others cannot.
We decided that I would use a pseudonym and that I would change many of the details about my life so that no one would know who I was. By using a public lie like this, I could tell the truth about some amazing women I’ve worked with without risking anyone ever figuring out who they are.
In our Gothic community, the greatest sin has nothing to do with fashion or music–it has everything to do with the truth. A person who pretends to be Goth has no credibility with us, no matter the clothes they wear, whereas the person who doesn’t pretend to be Goth but doesn’t judge us, is honest about themselves, and ask sincere questions is always welcome at our gatherings.
For that way, I honestly profess that the things a private eye could use to ascertain my identity or the people I work with are all lies, but the statements I make and the stories I tell are all true–at least as far as I know them to be.
Thus the title of my editorials here at DGM is “V for Veritas.” I will often include pictures of women in these articles. My own images are a fingerprint and a direct connection to my models, so all images will be ones from other photographers who’ve allowed their images to be shared. The beauty of this is that these stories could apply to anyone you see on the street and any model you’ve ever seen a photo of.
If you’ve ever read “Post Secret,” which I adore, you know the power a secret truth can have. In keeping with this notion, you can click my name in my signature and email me. You can ask questions, vent, or, perhaps, most powerfully, share your story. I’ll do my best to share whatever you’d like and as much information as you’d like. (And, like post secret, if there’s art or a photo you wish to share that expresses your thoughts and heart, send them in. If they’re open source, public domain, Creative Commons, or changed enough for fair use, we can post them!)
As a photographer who specializes in “alternative” women (that’s such a weird term! Alternative to what? Men? Other Women? Giraffes?), I’ve heard stories and tales that transform my world. I make sure that my models are fully comfortable before we shoot and I have a way of helping us both be on similar footing, so they know we can trust each other. (Your editor has his own way of doing this where he shares the camera with the model and they both take each other’s photo. I love that!)
Then they tell me there stories and it’s as though time slows down and I get to experience their lives as they describe them. I get to experience what they survived and what they’ve done in such a strange way–and tell them that they did good. The things they think are the biggest screw ups have actually helped them with things later in life and there’s something so powerful for them to be able to verbalize these things! (Some have later written deeper things done and there’s such healing that comes out of it!)
Many of the alternative models I’ve worked with are rape survivors, especially those who identify themselves as “goth.” I come to realize there’s something about taking the “black” and realizing you have “sisters” who understand that’s very empowering. The other thing that I notice especially in the alternative modeling communities is how many women are mothers, which is a total anomaly compared to “traditional” modeling where you want very young girls and they’re “put out to pasture” (Grrrr, do I despise that condescending phrase!) if they have a kid or get “too old” (ie 25 or older). In the Gothic modeling community many women didn’t even start modeling until they had a kid!
I don’t know what that means, but I love it!
I guess I’ll wrap up for now, other than to say that these editorials are not just for models–not even close! This is a place for women of all stripes and forms, regardless of subculture or label. (I guarantee there’s a woman dressed in the most non-edgy clothing out there who’s survived a lot of what we have and she’s welcome.) Moreover, if there are men who want to understand what many women go through, you’re welcome here, as well.
This a place of safety. Do NOT attempt to make anyone here feel unsafe or belittled, or you will be removed from the discussion.
I hope that some of you will come to trust me enough to write to me and ask me questions. (And of course, if you feel comfortable to add in your own stories in the comments below, please do.)