When entering a New Year, it’s just as important to look back at the years gone by and reflect on the world as time moves forward. As you may already know, it’s a small world that we live in and this is more than just a fashion blog. A couple of weeks ago, I was honored to receive an invitation to The Alexia Foundation‘s exclusive gallery event, Alexia: Images & Issues. When I looked closer at the invitation, I immediately realized the personal connection I had to Alexia Tsairis for whom the foundation was founded in memory of. On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by terrorists and went down over Lockerbie, Scotland leaving no survivors. Among the victims of this horrible attack were 35 Syracuse University students returning home from a semester abroad. Emerging photojournalist, Alexia Tsairis, was one of them.
I too attended Syracuse University where I pledged Pi Beta Phi, the same sorority Alexia was a member of. I can still remember how four of her photos hung prominently in the Pi Phi house as a memorial to Alexia and two other sisters we lost to the Lockerbie bombing. I even met her parents once when I attended the annual memorial service at the Remembrance Garden on campus with my Pi Phi sisters. Upon seeing our letters, Mr. and Mrs. Tsairis came up to us to thank us for coming and to tell us how proud Alexia had been to be a Pi Phi. In memory of their daughter’s tragic death, Alexia’s parents founded the The Alexia Foundation, to continue Alexia’s legacy and love for photography by promoting the power of visual journalism as a means of exposing social injustices worldwide.
The Foundation has been working ever since to provide major grants and funding of up to $50,000 a year for photojournalists documenting humanitarian and social justice issues. The Alexia Foundation showcase I will be attending later this month will feature the work of their award-winning photojournalists and will include approximately 35 images from the Alexia Foundation Archives, featuring recent winners Justin Maxon and Katie Orlinsky. I so look forward to honoring the legacy of my sorority sister and her passion for photojournalism that still lives on. Click here to find out more about how you can support The Alexia Foundation.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But, when you have famed American portrait photographer, Annie Leibovitz, behind the lens, it’s probably worth a million. My office in Soho looks out into this alley that has recently become my favorite place in the city to people watch. Literally everyday everything from a fight to a photo shoot is going on in the alley. Today, however, I got the true New York experience when an Annie Leibovitz photo shoot broke out in the alley. If you don’t know her, you probably know her pictures. She’s most famous for the Rolling Stone cover she shot of John Lennon the day he died and her photograph of the pregnant Demi Moore in Vanity Fair.
If I ever get engaged, I hope Annie Leibovitz is available to take my engagement photos. I adore how she always manages to capture a person’s true identity at that exact moment. From what I gather, today’s Leibovitz photo shoot was also for Vanity Fair featuring some of New York City’s most prominent Internet entrepreneurs including Arianna Huffington, FourSquare co-founder, Dennis Crowley, and who I believe to be one of the Gilt Groupe founders. Mayor Bloomberg also made an appearance for a few shots, but left after less than five minutes. Watching an Annie Leibovitz photo shoot from start to finish was truly an exciting experience one which makes paying crazy Manhattan rent totally worth it. As more and more security, agents, PR people, and paparazzi showed up, the anticipation of who would be the subject of this shoot grew and grew. However, I must say that the most baller moment of the day was when Leibovitz decided she didn’t want a stop sign in the shoot and within 10 minutes the city came and chopped it down proving New York to truly be a city dedicated to art.
Here are a couple of my favorite Annie Leibovitz shots:
Scarlett Johansson as Disney’s Cinderella – Cinderella was history’s first Aspiring Socialite.
Vintage glamour with a rustic edge
The fall after I graduated from college, I posed for these pictures for my friend Greg. We got together one Saturday afternoon to shoot some fab pics for no reason at all, but the love of art and photography. I can’t believe this was three years ago, a total of six months before I started Aspiring Socialite. My hair looks red because I had just dyed it back to brown after a few months of being blonde.
I so need to get new headshots now, but it’s fun to look back. I love the use of shadow in the second photo. It gives it a dark and mysterious quality that the artistic side of me loves. I always wonder how other fashion bloggers always seem to have perfect professional-looking photos of them in the cutest outfits on a daily basis. Do they just have professional photographers following them around at all times? That would be kind of awesome. Pose on socialites!
Photo Credit: Greg Pasternack (2009)
If there’s anything I’ve learned from social media, it’s the importance of always being your own best advocate and personal documenterian. No one else can chronicle your life as well as you can so it’s your responsibility to tell your story on your terms. I often look back on my pictures from college on Facebook and can truly appreciate how happy those four years were for me which is why it’s such an honor to share the ups and downs of my post-college life in New York with you. You will see from my expert record keeping, I had a fun and interesting weekend that thanks to Presidents Day isn’t yet over.
As you might already know from many of my previous posts, I’m a strong believer in the power of the Spontaneous Photo Shoot which is what this weekend was all about. After picking out a few new clothes after work at Forever 21, my primary photo pal and fellow Aspiring Socialite, Amy, and I embarked on a mini photo shoot in my apt resulting in the lovely photo to the left along with the first one below. It’s amazing how profound simple moments can be.
Fun times with Amy and I
This is the most fun I’ve ever had doing laundry. Only in New York can you have a random photo shoot with new friends at the laundry mat. This should really be the next Tide ad.
I often find myself dreaming about Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova in the Sky” though this is probably a reference to some unsavory behavior involving hallucinogens, it makes me think of penthouse apartments and private helicopter rides, the products of living large. Socialites often live in a world of their own and I am no exception. Though I physically reside in the real world, my mind is permanently located high above the flat line in the champagne supernova in the sky. Finding socialite fame is only a matter of having these two worlds collide. When I spotted Monica Rich Kosann’s Planet Collection necklaces on Ramshackle Glam, I fell in love with their design and intergalactic elegance.
As an impeccable storyteller herself, Monica Rich Kosann makes all of her pieces with the purpose of allowing a woman to tell her story while expressing her fashion sense. They are often described as “heirlooms for our generation” designed to be passed along to the next making her work truly timeless. Retailing for well over $2,500, the Planet Collection is not only out of this world, for now, it is also well out of my price range. But, that never stopped me from aspiring.