Monday, September 12, 2016


There is an interesting story behind this image, as it almost did not happen. For a good majority of my shoots, I have always done the make-up myself— this dates back to when I first began photographing people. I made use of a very retro aesthetic from the very beginning since I wanted to emulate early masters and early Hollywood glamor photography. I started doing this in the early 1990's, which for all intents was still really the 1980's. This was not exactly a good time to find people with hair and make-up that looked like the time periods I wanted to represent in an authentic way. So I had to scrub everybody's faces clean, do their make-up and hair as well as find clothes for them. Yeah, no easy task. I like doing it, though, and it tends to relax women before a shoot. It has had another added benefit in that my early work (and most of it since) does not look badly dated now. Things got much easier later on when Swing and Rockabilly music came back in vogue (and to a certain extent has remained so). Suddenly women were showing up at my studio with these wonderful dead-on looks, all ready to go. It felt like 90% of my work was now cut out for me. It was not like I had not paid my dues, though. When women don't have their own cosmetics, I often tend to go for a fresh-scrubbed natural look nowadays. Anyway, to make a long story short (too late?), I've since started to get a little more experimental with maquillage when I do it myself now. For this session, I used white and black eyeliner on the top of the lids, along with some white mascara, in order to try something a bit weird and futuristic. I have to say that both she and I thought it looked kind of clownish, and she wanted to wipe it off and try something of her own. I convinced her to just shoot it for a few minutes first since I spent a while doing it. I'm glad that I did because it turned out to look a lot more elegant and distinctive in the shot than it did in real life. It was also by far the best thing we shot that day. It is one of my favorite images, and it even looks better in color— but I don't like to show color work here. I'm always amused at how often people are reluctant to trust me at first, but then turn out to absolutely love the results of something that they were initially rather wary of trying...

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