Capturing the beauty of Mandvi at sunset
Photography by Rhea Gupte
Mandvi Beach, Kutch, Gujarat
It has been four years, since starting FUSS, a birthday last month I did not acknowledge, partly due to everything that was happening in my life and partly due the fact that I was unhappy with how I have gone about certain decisions I have made with the website. Being a platform, there are opportunities which come your way and as an inquisitive mind, it is correct to explore the opportunities. It is only then that one realises whether that particular project was for them or not. Whether they were able to derive happiness from it or were they left with a sour taste. I have similarly taken up certain projects as they came up, being new and interesting opportunities to me. Many a times projects which didn’t demand a creative angle, but I made sure to give it my creative best. However, I feel like I have taken several incorrect turns in my journey towards discovering what I am truly passionate about and where my skill set lies.
As a person who has a blog, there are a set of expectations which require to be satisfied from both onlookers and clients. They expect you to promote, to consume and to advice. But what happens when the act of promoting is something which makes you feel sick to your stomach, or that you personally barely ever shop and mass consumerism gives you the heebi-jeebis, or when, even the thought of asking somebody to match their belt to their shoes seems like the most redundant piece of advice to transpire? With some self-reflection I have come to the understanding of not being passionate about any of these things. All I care about is creating, pushing my abilities in order to do so and talking about things which genuinely matter.
And I care about the space I created in order to express myself through it, a showcase of my portfolio, my work, my practise and my progress.
What people don’t realise is that a blog is not limited to being an advertising platform. It can be anything the blogger wishes for it to be. And what you make it, is what clients will come to you for. Most importantly, it is a platform to showcase what one can do and what abilities one possesses.
I never want FUSS, and all my social media platforms by extension, to turn into advertising platforms to ‘influence’ my readers to buy, crave or want. Every post on the website and my channels is either a commissioned project for the brand wherein I have been asked to work with them in a creative capacity in order to create unique content for them and their websites and channels, or a self-funded project to push myself creatively. All commissioned posts added to FUSS are only in the capacity of work done by me for my clients and not created for FUSS to influence my readers with what they should buy, how they should dress and where they should catch brunch the next time they are in a particular city. I may speak about said topics from time to time, but you can trust me when I say that the words come from my mind and not from a client, company or brand paying me to speak about them.
Although never fascinated by numbers, I give a lot of importance to who is reading and looking at FUSS. I hope it is a group of people who wish to— start conversations, aim for the stars and keep getting better at whatever it is that they do. My reader’s genuine opinion and feedback is important for me to grow. I always want to have an ethical and transparent relationship with them. Early last year I started a No Gifts policy on FUSS and since then, haven’t housed or published a single ‘gifted’ item. Except for a few posts which were pre-commissioned projects, my social media has been clean of any promotional activity and will continue to be so. Any brands mentioned are projects I worked on for the brand as a model, stylist, photographer or creative director, for which I have gotten paid my share as a freelancer for the ability I bring to the project. Never as a blogger to sell my prowess of social media as a skill. I do not believe it is. FUSS will never make money off-of one dimensional promotional activities and will always be my space, my portfolio and my creative escape.
So wishing FUSS a very belated happy birthday with a promise that there will be no more wrong turns henceforth.