Expressions of Beauty for Institute Magazine

It's here!  It's finally out in the world and I am thrilled.  Editorial work often takes months to get published, as I've experienced and described several times in the past, but with this one, the waiting really got to me.  

This shoot started as many do over good coffee with great people.  

Ananda Ambrose is an incredibly talented hair and makeup artist represented by Big Leo and also a longtime friend and collaborator.  [If that name sounds familiar it's because I've mentioned her several times as we've worked on so many projects together, like this one, and this one, this one too.]  As I've grown up in this business Ananda and I have often discussed our roles as women media creators. What are we building?  How are we influencing the conversation about women, their social value, and feminism?  Many of those conversations were a bit disheartening in the early days until we started coming up with stories to shift the conversation.  And that was around the same time the rest of the world started asking all the same questions.    

Back in January, we met up for coffee and breakfast to catch up on the post-holiday news when we started talking about the idea of play in beauty.  She was saying that the childhood joy of playing dress up seems to be lost on us as adults, and that beauty feels more like an act of conformity than self-expression.  Makeup should be war paint or joy paint.  It should be fantasy and it should empower us to be whoever we want to be that day.  She wanted to bring play, joy, and experimentation back into the conversation in a story that was simultaneously lighthearted and fun.  So we developed the idea that we would feature spring beauty trends while photographing the model as though she were examining herself in the mirror as she did her makeup, showing her reactions to herself.

Armed with what we felt was a pretty strong concept we set about casting someone who could bring the idea to life and that's when we saw Cleirys Velasquez from Marilyn New York and we knew we had our girl.  She was expressive and a pleasure to work with.  What followed our cold January shoot was rounds of editing, retouching, pitching and the dreaded waiting.  Fast forward to now this week and I'm finally at liberty to share the images with all of you.  So without further ado here is our story "Expressions of Beauty" in Institute Magazine.  I hope you enjoy the story and remember that beauty is about self-expression, not conformity.  Go forth and fearlessly express yourself, you are not here as ornamentation