rhea gupte, the girl from FUSS, fashion photography, blue sky, suede dress, statement necklace, white shirt, short hair, bob, garden, plants
rhea gupte, the girl from FUSS, fashion photography, blue sky, suede dress, statement necklace, white shirt, short hair, bob, garden, plants

Project Brief

Experiments with colour and self portraiture


Personal Project

A couple of weeks ago a lovely reader asked me to write an account of what it is like to live the life of a freelancer and to have an independent business which I manage alone. Excessive pondering, thought restructuring and several drafts later, I somehow managed to blurt out a somewhat cohesive set of words to explain what it is like.

I don’t think of myself as any different from many of my friends who are also freelancers of various kinds. I have a friend who is an artist, another who is a typographer, a photographer, a stylist, a dog trainer, a developer, vast and varied occupations. Even with the large discrepancies in the subject matters, it is astonishing how similar our processes, experiences and complaints are. In essence, what it means to be a freelancer is to not have the security of a monthly salary, to take on projects as they come to you along the way and to make smart and at times strategic decisions to make yourself and your business grow. Every freelancer is required to be a multi-tasker, a disciplinarian and as much as possible a non-procrastinator. This, in my opinion would be the trifecta of a successful self-employed human being.

Multi-tasking would be the sci-fi equivalent to the Mother Ship in these areas. It is a must because you are your own marketer, agent, assistant, public relations personnel, finance manager, accounts keeper (worst), legal advisor. That is already seven things listed down and we haven’t even broached upon what it is that you actually do for a living. Honestly, you may be the most passionate about your work and craft, be it dancing, puppy-training, writing; but there is no skipping these additional roles which simply barge in uninvited. Be prepared for a severe case of, I didn’t sign up for this! Oh, but you did. At least till the time you have enough swag to get other humans to do it for you.

Discipline, in my opinion, a word not too popular or liked, aka the high school version of Lindsey Lohan in the first fifteen minutes and last fifteen minutes of Mean Girls. It is easy to get carried away with all the freedom that a no-boss-situation can possibly provide, but this freedom can be a downfall like no other especially when five minutes of Youtube surfing can easily and persistently cause you to spend three hilarious and very guilty hours catching up with IISuperWomanII. Before you know it, you are cooking dinner and a day that started with resolve and determination is now merely a debate of whether to watch reruns of Seinfeld or Frasier while you remorsefully chew down the last morsel and ponder where exactly the day went. True story.

I’ll try and write about procrastination some other time. HA! See what I did there?

Zoey is a procrastinator. Zoey is broke. Don’t be like Zoey.

There is no set format for how one can be a good freelancer or a financially stable one. It is a lot of trial and error, understanding yourself, your client and your industry. Even so, one thing I religiously follow apart from working out, following my time-table and as rarely procrastinating as humanly possible, is what Patti Smith said, “Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful — be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.”

Join the conversation

  1. Loved what you wrote. But I can’t stop but admire how your words match with the pictures ; the free spirited dress with a shirt’s collar being visible.

  2. Definitely guilty of getting stuck on Youtube here too once in a while LOL.
    I totally hear you Rhea, being a freelancer means being disciplined.
    Some days it’s easy, some days a little less or a lot less.
    I always let my passion for what I do be my driving force and I am sure the same goes for you.

    As always, stunning photos!

    xx Tamara Chloé


  3. I haven’t been able to come back to this, but thank you for this! I am leaving my job to be my own master and this helps quite a bit. I hope I can some day soon not be overwhelmed by the DIDNT sign up for this syndrome and continue to create lovely things. I aspire to have my vision as acute as yours and have it translate clearly.
    Best wishes.

    1. Hello Shammah! I wish you all the very best in achieving your dreams. I am humbled to know this helped you in any way at all!

  4. Hi Rhea, totally chanced upon your blog, while searching for something entirely else (you know how surfing the web gets), and I have to say I’m in complete love with it. I completely agree with your point on procrastination and discipline though. You can’t do both – one has to go for the other to survive.
    Absolutely adore the styling and concept of these self-portraits.

    1. Hi Rashika! I am so glad you stumbled upon this space. 🙂 Yes, especially as a freelancer, self-discipline is of utmost importance as you drive your own projects. Thank you, I need to do some more self-portraits soon, it’s been a while!