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Meet Jacquelean

Lean with it, Rock with it.

She first appeared in a museum garden, leisurely wandering her way through the foliage.

Then I found her pensively reflecting in the Mezquita.

Finally, she showed up on my doorstep demanding to be acknowledged.

It was Jacquelean, the solution to the "I don't know what to do with my body/hands" problem that constantly plagues all those basic Instagram-obsessed bitties.

She's the girl everyone knows and loves (to hate) who asks random people to take a picture of her and then asks them to take another with minimal pose changes because she didn't like the way the first 15 takes came out so, clearly, it's the photographer's fault.

She's the girl that throws what she knows, even if it's just a peace sign.

Traveling alone meant I had to find a way to fit into my photos without awkwardly standing in the corner of a frame by myself or selfie-ing it up all around Europe.

So Jacquelean was born.

She usually has her legs crossed to make her waist and hips look smaller.

Normally, a hand is on her hip to avoid arm fat from making an appearance.

Her head often tilts in the opposite direction of the rest of her body to lengthen her neck and define her chin and jaw line.

And depending on the day, her hair is swooped to one side to hide the sweat-ruined ends and accentuate her collar bone.

The point is, Jacquelean is a mechanism that I use to turn an otherwise awkward photo into a cute pic. It makes the moment look more natural and less forced while placing me in the location in real time.

So many people use their own version of Jacquelean to hide their insecurities, drive up those likes, and ultimately present an image that isn't 100% authentic.

While I don't photoshop myself or my surroundings, the way I look in my pictures isn't what I look like all the time. There's effort and thought that goes into a good picture and a lot of times people just see it as someone who's pretty or photogenic. These pictures weren't just snapped and then posted. They required several shots with various positioning, and then I went back and added some lighting effects to bring out the right shading and color.

A lot of times I had to wander around a space and think about what I wanted to get out of a photo before I could decide how to photograph it or even how to place myself in the photo. I had to think about what I wanted in the background and how I wanted to frame the photo.

Growing up with photographers as parents meant a lot of smiling, posing, and say-cheese's. It also meant that I developed a keen awareness of what my body looks like - good and bad - when placed in front of a camera. I understand camera angles and lighting, and I'm all too familiar with the phrase "backlit."

I'm fortunate to have enough familiarity with photography that I know how to take a good picture with a moment's notice, but not everyone is and that’s why I’m here.

Comparison is the thief of joy, so like what you've got and learn to use it in your favor. I do, and I 100% recommend it.

For more examples, search #jacquelean on Instagram.

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