It’s been three months of doing my own photography, to perfect my makeup visions. With this latest shoot, my model Rose, plays a 70’s glamour Svengali. It marks a moment of getting my Vogue makeup to a new level. Plus, my thoughts on the journey of doing my own photography.
Back in March, I did my first photo-session with Aly. I loved her unusual face, and I wanted to do something very cool. The strain of the double duty of doing both the makeup, and the photography hadn’t really fully dawned on me. That day, I had the ambitions to do 4 looks in 5 hours! I kinda managed to do it. The ideas were a bit half-assed, but it broke a personal barrier of being afraid to fail. Sometimes, if you want to learn to swim, you just gotta jump in. And jump, I did!
Why did I start doing my own photography for the blog? The last three years have been focused on finding the products that translate for the camera, and on understanding how lighting affects the makeup. Working with Cesar was amazing. He is both great at lighting and I love the way he sees women. I couldn’t have gotten this far without his help. And I can’t imagine learning makeup while doing my own pictures.
This leads me to the reasons why I took it up! After learning the “basics”, I wanted to express a certain vision. I tried and I couldn’t find another photographer that saw things quite exactly the way I did. Who liked the same faces I did. I have to confess, I tried to coax some of the photographers I worked with, and I learned that it always ends up ruining a creative relationship. You have to respect the vision of the people you work with. If their vision doesn’t match up, then you have to find someone who does.
So I decided to take ownership of my makeup visions! I didn’t know if the pictures would be good, or what ideas would come out. I had space, I had the time to do it, and I wanted to do a makeup look every week. Photography and makeup are both very competitive fields. And as a makeup artist taking a camera, I didn’t want to compete with Cesar, or other photographers here in Montreal. I really had to make sure that I had my own visions, and I was not copying someone’s style.
I wanted to create what I saw in my head and do my own makeup experiments without having to please other people. I wanted to give myself the possibility of fucking up. I would often stop myself to try out ideas because I was afraid that if I failed, it will make me look like a failure. By keeping a small set of me and the model, I gave myself the luxury of just doing what came to mind and seeing how it looked on camera. I could finally stop second guessing myself, and it took my work to another level.
Was it worth it to have headaches after each shoot, because I was getting my photography brain out of the mothballs? It was a challenge I hadn’t foreseen. Working the lens and working the model, demanded a lot of energy. I could only produce 2 looks. And adding all of the intricacies of photography as an added layer of the puzzle to figure out. But once I started, I couldn’t go back, it was just tooo fun having this freedom. Yes, it was worth it. For me.
I now see what comes naturally to me. I put the colours I want to put, and cast the models I feel inspired by. I can follow my vision. These Vogue inspired women started to appear, very glamorous and sophisticated. Which was a surprise, because I thought they came from the photographers I worked with. But they are mine, too. It’s also a way to re-create a specific makeup era that I like, or new ideas that come out of my love of colour and painting faces.
When I saw Rose’s polaroids, I just had that Biba vibe from the mid-seventies. I saw the turban right away. I saw the seventies makeup. And yes, that is where drag queens get their inspiration from; the sixties and seventies. It’s a glamour makeup, a bit campy, but I tried to do it in a soft way, with modern and fluffy Korean lashes, and no liner. Just shape and soft pastel colours. Rose was loving every bit of it—even the turban! Goes to show that glamour and creating characters will always be fun in front of the camera.
Model, Rose at Dulcedo
Sephora Collection grey and purple single matte shadows.
M.A.C. Single eyeshadow in Sour Lemon.
Inglot single shadow in turquoise FS Matte 372.
PUPA Milano green shadow in 602 (limited edition).
M.A.C. Paintpot in Painterly as shadow base.
Halloween glitter from the dollar store.
Over the pastel look I blended:
Chanel Le Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Petrole.
Sephora Collection grey matte shadow to blend out the pencil.
Both dresses are vintage and loaned courtesy of NJOYMTL