Suitability

Sometime in 2012, on a beautiful sunny day in the Golden State; California, the internet in my building chose not to commit to its duty, forcing its "work from home" residents, like myself, out of the building and into over-filled coffee shops.

Having entered and exited Starbucks in under five minutes due to overcrowding and poor internet speed, Peet's; the locally grown alternative and local favorite, seemed like the better option. Hands opened the doors to this temporary workspace, clothing patted the sweat off my upper lip and a body glided over to the cashier station to purchase something - an appropriate gesture of appreciation for the rent-free workspace and free internet. With a croissant and peppermint tea in hand, I clumsily shuffled over to the single seating section, popped open my laptop and surfed the web for upcoming auditions and photo shoots. After scrolling through all manner of websites, a simple but honest casting call, that a friend posted for another friend, seeking out a performance artist for a conceptual photo shoot at the photographer's home in Burlingame, California, seemed quite promising. Enticed by reasonable pay and preponderant opportunity, fingers typed up a generous response, then clicked send. Not too long after, a booking confirmation jumped into sight and the internal exhilaration felt was enough to fill the empty spots at the coffee shop.

Call time was rather early, and Ella; the photographer flashed a smile as I disembarked the San Francisco Caltrain at the Burlingame stop. As I got into her Land Rover, there was a quick exchange of pleasantries and an expeditious get to know each other session, while she speedily drove us to her abode, nestled atop the hill of a tenuous but winding road, with a view that invoked an immediate desire for such delectations of life. There was a placidity about her personal space, something which made settling in, without worry or skeptical thinking, simple. This feeling of comfort urged the wanderer in me to walk around and ogle the marvelous selection of mounted paintings and sculptures like a patron at an art museum. Shortly after, some more wandering and light conversation, myself, Ella and her husband who doubled as her assistant for that day, shuffled our feet down a few flights of stairs to begin our days' work in their in-home photo studio. Fancy!

At the time, Ella was a student of photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California and this particular photography project was a school assignment, the focal point being - complementary colors. So, as Ella and her husband fussed around with lighting and other technical aspects of the shoot, I prepped for the first look, which required covering my entire body in pink body paint.

Once that look was wrapped, it was back to the changing area and onto look number two, which required covering my entire body with yellow body paint.

Then look number three, which required no paint at all.


These images and this exploration of the past, encourage the thought of consequence and the mental asking of serendipitous questions - each question begging for deeper exploration of the moments that contributed to this experience. As a result, time bears significance, but more importantly, one word now comes to mind. Suitability. This word renders every other philosophical analogy useless. Why? Simply because of Ella. Ella chose the most suitable person for this project - me. Granted, the opportunity avoided the negative outcome of all the illimitable variables existing in the past, variables such as timing, the other applicants or simply different choices like a walk around the city or relaxation at the park and not a trip to Peet's. So then, is it safe to say, all the stars aligned? Probably so. Or it could be, regardless of time or variables, that I was the most suitable person for the role and nothing more than that.

Decisions are distinguished in that way. Each comes with its own plethora or lack of outcome. And every decision, in a way, relies on suitability. Why in a way? Well, simply because some people make decisions, even if suitability goes against the choice. Some people still decide to do certain things regardless.

Nevertheless, in the working world, suitability plays a colossal role in the hiring process. That is why booking a gig or being offered a job is a universally gratifying feeling to which many would agree. On a broader spectrum, landing that job is, at the end of the day, premised on suitability. It simply denotes that person is the right fit. In life, fitting in holds utmost importance. Many avoid being the stranger, the discarded or even the peculiar. Many just want to fit in, in some way or the other. Whether they fit into their role as an employee or a partner in a romantic relationship, as a teammate on a sports team or a babysitter in someone's home - suitability is the determinant. One can slightly add to this by saying, it is also associated with some sort of modest assumption of you. People decide if you are suitable for them or a job based on you - based on things like experience, physical appearance, knowledge, skills and quite possibly how "you" present yourself to them. It goes hand in hand with general opinion and so, it may then be safe to say that suitability relies heavily on subjectivity on both ends of the spectrum and that too is true.

Going back to the main point, though, suitability is what made the following possible - working with a beautiful and talented photographer and to have these images as a tangible outcome of that experience. It is also responsible for personal choices on that day of the initial booking - choices such as leaving Starbucks and heading to Peet's, taking the time to read Ella's casting call and determining if the role was in fact suitable enough to apply for.

So you see suitability works both ways. In this case, it helped Ella select a model and it encouraged me to apply, for the role. It aided the decision-making process  - ultimately resulting in the most suitable choices by all parties involved.

When applied to everyday life, suitability lacks the presence it deserves. Many make choices without seeking out the advice of suitability, or maybe, without considering it. In certain circumstances, it is pertinent and effortless, for example; when applying for a job, or making decisions about food and drink consumption, particularly for those with allergies or specific dietary needs. But, sometimes, it is forgotten when it comes to other aspects of life, as there are other factors that take higher precedence, and so, it stands little chance of being noticed and unfortunately, only comes to mind after mistakes present themselves.

But, if suitability is given a more sizable role in our "whole" lives, then maybe many of us will save ourselves from making the wrong choices or, simply, eschew regret or blame. Additionally, the conscious application of this type of thinking, may encourage the nurturing of a healthier, more consequentially mapped out mind - a mind that can impact society in a positive way and encourage more personal accountability in a world where fingers are pointed at others rather than ourselves. 

Modelling, 2012Tiva Samaru