In our modern, digital age people often settle for “fake” on social media – it’s far easier to follow others and optimize for the most likes than it is to post what truly matters to us. We all want to have #RelationshipGoalz. We all want to filter away every imperfection. We want all want to post exciting status updates about cool travel, career accomplishments, and good news about our life. We completely shun anything bad, sad, or real off our accounts and into obscurity.
So H, a collective of photographers and models built on authenticity, wanted to empower people to be transparent on social media, and share a piece of themselves that was real, unscripted, and genuine. Using the hashtag #50kAuthenticPosts, here are some of our favorite stories they found:
@hinfluencercollective is hosting a campaign to have influencers share a compelling story about why ‘authenticity’ matters to you. At the age of three, my mother abandoned me in India and left me with three simple words: “See you soon.” Since that moment, I’ve been through more in his life than many could imagine.
My father an abusive alcoholic, jumped around 7 different foster homes and eventually discovering that I find contentment behind a camera. That’s why, at 26 years old, my maturity and understanding of myself has spurred an interest in finally facing my past. I decided to journey back to India to meet face-to-face with my mother. My goal? To forgive her, resolve my relationship, and close the door on that chapter of my childhood so I can move forward as an adult unburdened by the questions I carried.
I decided to start a Kickstarter to make this vision come to life. I successfully met my goal on Kickstarter to direct my very first documentary. This film tells the story of returning to India after two decades, to reconnect with my mother. I hope that by telling this story through the median of film will inspire people to not only learn from the struggles and hardships they‘ve been dealt, but also to take charge of their own futures and plan their own paths, rather than staying on the one given to them.
My experiences and upbringing have given me the ability to create visuals with integrity and authenticity. I’ve spent the last six years partnering with brands in making their visions come to life. At the core, I believe a creative idea is truly limited unless collaboration and authenticity is the foundation behind every project. This is how you take a project from a 8 to a 10. This image was taken on the trip when I met my mother for the first time in two decades.
Growing up in a “broken” home, I fought for healthy lasting relationships. I was a boy caught between his parents rift — forced to choose where I would call home, all the while being tossed back and forth between my mom and dad. This made healthy lasting relationships hard to come by.. When I think of the word “authentic” my mind automatically goes to my dad — He’s as real as they come.
Amidst the chaos of my childhood, he fought for me, he stood by me, he encouraged me, he laughed/cried with me, he challenged me, and most importantly he loved me. My favorite quality in a person is the eagerness to do life WITH me.. and my dad has that. Authenticity is seen most clearly for me through my relationship with my dad, but I see it in other people every day. It’s the choice to stand with someone purely because people are worth loving.
Authenticity, something you don’t find to often anymore in this world. This photo right here was the first picture i took when i bought my Cannon 6D for the third time. Yes I said “third” time, i bought the 6D three different times because I “wasn’t sure” or “didn’t know” if photography was really for me. I ended up going to an @hinfluencercollectivemeet-up at Santa Monica pier with@alanPadilla and got to meet so many awesome people with so many awesome stories and backgrounds.
I then got the chance to go to the @hinfluencercollective art show in downtown LA the following day, and saw debatably the best work i has ever seen before. I was in a room with a group of the most talented individuals I have ever come across, and couldn’t be more thankful for it. Since that day I have been so motivated and driven to go out and take pictures and explore as much as I possibly can. Meeting people like @Alivialatimer @elliottsdunning ,@davidbenrice , @maddywelk ,@zech.lee , @aldenblake ,@frankiehildebrand , and @andiefitzgerald was literally just eye-opening to me, to see all of there hard work and dedication in real life was just it for me.
I chose this picture because of the actual love i have for the natural look of a photo and well as the spur of the moment trip to San Francisco. Also this was my first trip with the camera and everything I’ve done since has been based off this picture and this trip. I thoroughly in courage everyone to do what they love and chance their dreams.
A U T H E N T I C I T Y:
What a fricken word…Fun to say and rewarding to live. But so, so evasive.
I cannot preach about the intricacies and nuances of this noun because I, myself, am not fully authentic.
I don’t write this caption to gain followers or even win a contest; I write this caption with the hopes that all, many, some, a few, just one of you will read this and gain and new appreciation for yourself.
Growing up, I was the odd kid out. If any of you know me, I was the kid with big ears, a gap toothed smile, and an unquenchable love for anything creative. I flew under the radar, trying not to draw attention to myself, so fearful of judgment and ridicule. I dressed like everyone else, played sports like everyone else, even pretended to like girls like everyone else.
I had everything I could want, but I still suffered. I concealed my emotions and withdrew from my family and even my friends.
But in my senior year of high school, something changed; I decided to be me. I went out and immediately got a new wardrobe from the thrift store. I stopped covering the scars on my body. I told my friends when I saw a dude who I thought was cute. I made art for me, I dressed for me, I went on adventures for me, I lived life for me. And that’s because I lived it authentically.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still far from authentic and even further from perfect, but I’m learning that authenticity is closer than I thought. From time to time, I still worry about other people’s opinions of me, I let guys assume I’m straight without correcting them, and I catch myself staring too long at my scars in the mirror.
I don’t know exactly what it takes to become authentic or even what being authentic really means, all I know is that every single day, I work harder and harder to achieve it. Every single day, I become more and more me.
Authenticity is doing what you love without a second thought for other’s opinions. On a consistent basis we get so caught up in other people’s lives on instagram, we lose sight of our own.
This is why i’m joining @hinfluencercollectivein their #50kauthenticposts campaign. I began taking pictures to document my love for adventure and travel. I took this picture of my friend Garret summiting Mt. Shasta after 14,179 grueling steps through snow and terrain. I’ve never experienced anything more terrifying or exhilarating than when I stood at the peak and looked over all of Northern California. This photo reminds me everyday of the places photography has taken me, and how blessed I am to have these stories to tell. So be authentic, post something different that really shows who you are.
Authenticity to me means being true to yourself and who you are at your core, which in turn makes you happy and at ease. All of which easily come through (or not) in a photo. It’s not contrived, but natural. So in a day and age when people are often not at ease or happy, just let your authentic self shine through and the difference will be felt.
Remember that one time we randomly ran away from our normal lives for a weekend? So we could remind ourselves what it was actually like to live? We were stuck going through our everyday routine – wake up, go to school, sleep – and almost with no sense of moral or direction. That’s why going on this trip was such an eye-opener.
We left in the middle of the night with a tent and our bags and just enough cash to get us by, and I have to say it was one of the best trips of my (our) life. Every part of this trip was magical. I had always heard of people talking about Big Sur and how surreal the place was, and for the first time, we were able to experience it for ourselves. On the way back, we passed acres of flower fields like this one and we couldn’t help but pull over and hop the fence. I’ll never forget this moment, this feeling, of pure bliss.
Even though we came back close to broke, I had never felt more myself; a truly authentic version of me. I hope that I will never lose that sense of spontaneity.
I haven’t been doing photography very long, but I started because if one particular event that happened recently to my whole family. So I am participating in the#50kAuthenticPosts for@hinfluencercollective campaign.
Last year 2 days before my birthday my house caught on fire and we basically lost a lot of stuff that couldn’t be replaced. I wasn’t home but my parents were. To be honest it was the scariest moment in my life since my parents could of died. I don’t share this to much since I don’t feel like sympathy is a good thing. But I take photos to capture every moment so I know I will never forget anything that I have been through if something tragic happened. I am back in my house now but it was a rough year to say the least. This photo is by far one of my favorites since it captures my own editing style and the coast and sunsets.
@ztoohj and I were in LA once trying to find a sick rooftop to get on. After sneaking past security, reading a bunch of trespassing signs, and 80 flights of stairs later we finally got to the top of a building off S Grand Ave.
I remember us both in awe, not saying a single word just taking in the view of the city at sunset. We were scared that if we left we’d get caught so we stayed there until it got dark out. It’s easy as a photographer to get caught up in the perfect shot when really you just have to let it come to you and enjoy the moment. Although I didn’t get the best pics I’ll never forget the day we walked up 80 flights of stairs to hangout on top of LA.
This little boy ran up to me while I was out on a shoot at a restaurant, and said “Hi!”
About 5 minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around. The little guy had come back and said to me:
“Can you take a picture of me please?”
And I said:
“Do you want one with your balloon?”
(He was so adorable)
Whenever I am on a shoot nowadays, I approach families struggling to get a group shot, I see various moments of candidness, and I also see these future models-to-be.
It’s just great to be a part of something authentic, a part of other people’s lives.
Even if it’s a virtual relationship.
For me, authenticity is sometimes being a little raw. This picture doesn’t look like my finest work as a professional photographer. It’s out of focus and the settings are all wrong. What you don’t see is me bawling my eyes out and my hand shaking as I take this picture. I’m so overcome in this moment, it’s a wonder I even thought to grab my camera at all. See this is my sister-in-law welcoming her little girl into the world….and she asked me if I would be a part of this spectacular moment.
I don’t have children, and my husband and I aren’t going to have any together. That’s something that took a long time for me to give to the Lord. So when my sweet brother and sister-in-law gave me the opportunity to be a part of their daughter’s birth, I could barely contain myself. Now every time I look at that picture I never think, gee I wished I had stopped and set the camera properly. No, all I see is a miracle, and how I was invited in to be a part of it.
As an artist and someone that naturally enjoys the idea of creating photos on a daily basis—being authentic is important to me. A lot of times people can get lost in the likes, comments, and followers. And it’s not always about sharing your best photos, rather it should be more about sharing your favorite moments.
Here is one of my favorite moments from this year, visiting Yosemite for the first time. It was such a surreal experience that I will never forget and I can’t wait to go back a third time before this year ends!
Authenticity is something that people have forgotten. In this whole Instagram community it’s easy to forget what you’re actually trying to accomplish and promote to other people. This photo wasn’t posed and I think that’s one of the things I love about it the most. It was just me and my friends having a great time and somebody decided to snap a photo.
I smile every time I look at it because it reminds me how amazing my friends are and how much fun we have doing what we love to do. Just hangin playin a ukulele and singing together.
Growing up as an immigrant was tough, being pulled between wanting to be like everyone else and true to my heritage. Being able to express myself through photography help me to discover myself. The acceptance in the art community made me realize it was ok to be myself, what ever that might be and that diversity was good.
I never thought I’d say this, but the Internet is full of really kind people sometimes. When I first got the scar on my chin, I hated it. I thought it ruined my career. I would think to myself, “if only I didn’t have this scar, then…” There are days that I still struggle with it, no one’s perfect and we all feel insecure sometimes.
Since I first started posting photos on here of me without Photoshopping it out, you guys have done nothing but make me fall in love with it. I dunno, I guess I’m just trying to say thanks to you guys for helping me accept my authentic self.
It’s absolutely incredible how open and honest people were capable of being once they were “given permission.” Perhaps, every day, we should be willing to let ourselves be more genuine, more true to ourselves, and more authentic in life and on social media.