Orion Carloto's "Film For Her" is Her Poetic Ode to Love

Orion Carloto's "Film For Her" is Her Poetic Ode to Love

Orion Carloto's "Film For Her" is Her Poetic Ode to Love

Take a deep dive with V into Orion Carloto's world of words.

Take a deep dive with V into Orion Carloto's world of words.

Text: Ahad Sanwari

Can you see the real me?  (The Suffering of Loneliness)

This is the earnest plea of Orion Carloto in her new book, Film for Her. If you know her, then you can identify the writer’s distinct knack for baring her soul. And if you don’t? In her words, Orion Carloto is, “a writer and a poet. And I am also a content creator and curator. A lot of my focus is on art and fashion and I just try to make sense out of my own little world.”

Image credits: John Parvin

As a poet, Carloto has always been one to champion love; the love that’s found, the love that’s lost, the love that heals you, the love that breaks you. Her first book, Flux, released in 2017, was about dealing with the heartbreak that came from first love and writing from a dark place. “One thing that you learn from heartbreak,” according to Carloto, “is pinpointing parts of yourself that you need to work on or that I never really realized shaped me into who I am right now. And Film for Her is taking all forms of love that I’ve experienced in my life, whether that be with a romantic partner or a friend or family member or even with a city or my cats, and really romanticizing that as well.”

But alas, I am not in love.
And now, too, I suppose,
I am no longer a writer.
 (Naked Orchards)

But Carloto proves her ability as a writer as she weaves a narrative throughout Film for Her that runs in the form of short stories, essays, and poetry. The narrative is her own life, from her childhood spent with immigrant parents in the very white town of Bethlehem, Georgia (“insert biblical reference here”), to the days she spent in Paris finishing the book. “I went there alone to finish writing and see if I can have that space alone to feel myself and bring up old wounds that haven’t been touched and really hone in on my work,” she says.

She discovered her love for writing and poetry in Shel Silverstein books and high school literature classes. “For someone who, for so long, found it so hard to be vulnerable,” she says, “finding words that encapsulate much greater emotion up for the interpretation of other people felt good, it felt like that was the right space for me to be in.” She started posting her work online, and finally got her start when a publisher got in touch with her one morning on her way to work at American Apparel. “I did get lucky in that sense, but it was definitely one of the best days of my life, especially when you look at the juxtaposition of where I was at that moment.”

Carloto explores the visual medium in Film for Her, using film photography to accompany her words. Having discovered film photography as a teenager, she reveled in its ability to capture sentiments. She initially intended for the book to function as an Instagram page, a safe space for her more personal work. “I realized, looking through all the photos that I’d taken, that they were taken for a special reason,  it was a memory or some sort of moment in my life that felt important to me.” And, thus, came the book. 

Image credits: John Parvin

She hopes to take that further by working on short films that carry forward the book’s narrative. Flux received a trailer prior to its release. “With this book, because there are so many scenes that involve really what everything entails,” she explains, “it’s easy to pick and pool different scenarios that we can work with. It’s so easy to make a film on love and romance, we love that, we love to see that, we love indulging in that. But it’s been amazing honing in on the stories of my parents, especially my mother, and seeing what we can make from them.”

The multihyphenate artist collaborated with several brands, such as Savage x Fenty, Cartier, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Gucci Beauty etc. and has made fashion a key part of her aesthetic. “I wasn’t good at much but I knew I could put an outfit together. And that was something that brought me happiness.” Carloto’s collaborations over the past 4-5 years contribute to her popular online presence, with over 700k Instagram followers and 400k subscribers on YouTube.

But, like she says, Carloto is a woman trying to make sense out of her own little world, experiencing the ups and downs of life while trying to find the love and purpose that keeps her going. “It’s very easy to sit and look at your life and wonder ‘when am I going to be married’ or find someone that understands me,” she says. “But I feel like I get that from people who I’m not romantic with, who I love in other ways. And I think it’s beautiful to remember that and not so much focus on romance.” 

That’s what Film for Her represents: finding the freedom in valuing the relationships that give you strength. Or, as she puts in her own prose:

Rising above the ashes,
this woman in gold,
she cried out loud
to the universe below her,

“I’m free! I’m free!” (Femme Dorée)

Orion Carloto’s Film For Her is now available for purchase here.

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