“I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity."- Diana Vreeland
It is ok to be vain. I think there is a hard distinction between narcissism and vanity. The word, vanity closely associates with one's extreme pride on physical appearance or abilities. Everyone has vanity of some level. Without vanity, there's no need for the style of cloths, nor fashions of any field. The people in vogue magazine would be all unemployed. I would lose 90% of my clients who need portrait or Boudoir photography. And the majority of people in U.S. would stop working out at Gyms. Why? because vanity is the main element that drives one's e desire to "Improve" one's appearance or ability... In that sense, I as a photographer, not only approve of it but also have to appreciate one's vanity through my lens.
Narcissism, however, associates with self-indulgence. As matter of fact, there's a psycho-therapy, term called, " Narcissistic Personality Disorder, in which people inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others."(1) For example, whenever, my wife and I attend film-festivals or fashion conventions we always have to prepare ourselves to endure shallow actors, models or pseudo intellectuals who will join in the name-dropping, self-advertisement competition of some sort---we see models, showing off their Instagram account with thousands of followers they bought off in the 10 seconds conversations with photographers and film directors. Actors who like to talk about their exes' weekly salaries or the box office gross amount of their past film they were in.
Every now and then I have to suffer through portrait-shooting with “High-profile” actors who elaborate how I should do their headshot for free or very cheap price for the career boosts for my photography business. And so and so….
I admit, the most vain person I can think of is my wife who is a performing arts director, but I am also lucky to able to claim that there's little narcissism element in her. Whenever she engages in conversations she has no interest in her appearance or her credits in the past shows, but as soon as she detects something new or unconventional ideas, her eyes spark and take the conversations to the strangest but the most interesting place....Vain people are all interesting and hard to catch because they are too busy in pursuing new styles or ideas. I often times fall in love with their vanity during the creative process. Vain people are not only chasing after new styles of clothing design or cosmetics, but also they constantly work hard on their bodies to improve, and often times open-minded to creativity in shootings to evolve their own styles.
On the contrary, Narcissists are oftentimes megalomaniacs who prone to drown in their own delusions of grandeur. It's usually the selfish customer or influencers I work with the series of same old complains, "I don't look like this. I don't look like that." "It's not even properly focused. My selfies look even better than this so use my iPhone now na na na..." "Make me skinny in Photoshop, let me show you the perfect examples of what we are looking for in this IG account... %%#@R^&"
...Makes me want to shoot myself (Photographic pun intended)
1. Mayo Clinic Staff. Web. November. 18, 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/basics/definition/con-20025568
The Source of idea.
Diana Vleeland. "I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity", July 29, 1906 - August 22, 1989. Web. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/diana_vreeland.html
Fahionista Blog. Web. Friday, April 25, 2008. http://the-fashionista-blog.blogspot.com/2008/04/i-loathe-narcissism-but-i-approve-of.html