I’m really happy. It’s been a month already, that this series of images was completed and edited. I was waiting for them to be published to talk about the process. All those colourful palettes you saw reviewed on the blog; well this is the reason why! Colour Collections are on the way!
Photography and Makeup by Ewa Bilinska
Model Rose at Dulcedo Models.
A YEAR IN COLOUR
In retrospect, I’ve been building up to this scale for about a year. Since I’ve been photographing and improvising, I’ve noticed that colour ideas were popping naturally, when I was “playing by ear”. On my journey into technicolor, I’ve been asking myself: how do I develop my own “colour language”. At first, I wanted to copy work that I admired. But I decided it would be lazy on my part–and I do tend to be lazy. I asked myself: “What kinds of colours do I want to apply to a face? What is obsessing me?”. I obsess about flowers. And I wanted to bring these kinds of shades onto the face. That’s how I arrived at a Colour Collection inspired by flora. In any case, you can just try just the lip…. After all: Lilac is pretty hot.
GETTING OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE
Firstly, I wanted to try something I hadn’t done before in my beauty photography: mega-closeups… My comfort zone is the “fashion portrait” format. I tend to use backgrounds or clothing as a sounding board for my makeup ideas, but I’ve never designed makeup looks that stand on their own, with no accessories, or clothes. In this unstable position, I needed to work with someone I had already shot with, and with whom’s face I was familiar with. Rose at Dulcedo has beautiful lips, and a generous lid space to frame the colour work that I like to do around the eyes. She has the superpower to carry the most intense makeup looks and still look “natural”.
BUILDING ON A CREATIVE PROCESS
On the theme of getting out of the comfort zone: I decided to go against my slap-dashery, and to shoot over several days, as well as to try and plan my looks ahead of time. My goal was to experiment on my own, and learn how these flower colours worked, and to find a way of applying them that was of my own invention. It was sort of like scratching a song on a guitar and then, recording it. It helped to ease the double task of being behind the camera, and doing the makeup. Also, having a familiar face, and not doing more than 2 looks a sessions was my magical recipe for success. All these factors added variety to the shoot. It’s Rose’s face in all five images, but the camera angles and slight variations in lighting from day to day, create the illusion of different faces. Which is an unexpected result from working this close-up.
WORKING IT OUT
I would take time here and there to jam on my face and I took pictures with my iPhone. I then sketched it into a notebook with directions of what products I used, and where. The second look always ended up freestyle, because it was hard coming up with more than one idea and… well, going from 100% improvised to 100% prepared is not realistic! Can you guess which ones were prepared, and which ones were improvised? Every other day Rose would come to my atelier, and we would shoot two looks.
FLOWER POWER IS GREEN
Once I had the main look down, I would go shopping for a flower, if I felt it suited the makeup look. But for the last look of the series, with the yellow flower, it was all improvised. On the very day, I was still struggling (oh that struggle bus) to a logical, yet different idea to add to my colour story… I hadn’t noticed what made the images work together, as they were sometimes quite different. But after looking at all four previous shots, I realized that a shade of green was featured in each picture. And as I was trying to work with blue for the last shot, I decided to give it up. I shot a portrait for the blog with a lot of black liner. I wiped most of it away, and then I pulled out this green colour-pot and just kept the black liner close to the lashes from the portrait I had just shot. My big lesson with this IN BLOOM “Collection” is that green is the perfect foil for any bright shade, and in this shot, it’s the star. Green has a visual property to “ground” my clouds of colour, it made it more ethereal, rather than urban or “candy”.
NOT FREAKY, BUT ….
Although I’m not in Alex Box territory just yet, I am expanding beyond “cosmetic” beauty. I was finding myself stuck in “pretty” and “natural”. Reflecting back on these images, I realized that I tend to work in sploches of colour. Some looks are still tied to smoky techniques, but with the surprising mix of colours and more vibrant tones, it’s slowly stretching the box (a-ha-ha play on words). The operative word being “slowly”. But that’s the process of experimenting and coming into my own. Copying Box’s work would be instant gratification, not to mention that I don’t have her vision to continue the exploration. While working on my own palette, it will expand organically from my own intuition, and it will be more satisfying.
I’m really grateful for Rose, who came to channel a flower muse, even though I didn’t know where this was going and we were both experimenting and having fun. We made some great recordings of these flower inspired makeup ideas. Thanks to Dreamingless Magazine, to have printed them in their magazine. If you wish to purchase a hard copy, please follow HERE.
ON TO THE NEXT COLLECTION
As I’m writing this, I’m already working on another Colour “Collection”–for Fall. So stay tuned!