3000 word essay – makeup and beauty


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

3000 word essay – makeup and beauty

  1. 1. 3000 Word Essay – MAKEUP AND BEAUTY Makeup and beauty is my topic of choice for my unit three personal project in photography. This topic has caught my attention as it offers a lot for me to explore within photography, as well as develop my own individual style. As makeup and beauty are also things that I hold close to my own heart, I feel that this topic is something that will retain my interest throughout the duration of the project and allow me to be really creative – it’s a topic that I think I won’t get stuck on ideas for nor feel uninspired with either. Makeup and beauty are highly prevalent in society today and they have become a big part of everyday life. You see the evidence of this everywhere in daily life such as in magazines, on TV, on fashion catwalks and by celebrities – this in turn has created pressure on young girls, and some young boys too, to find interest in makeup, in turn widening the audience that is exposed to the beauty industry. In terms of photography, the beauty industry have used the technological advances in photography today to create the ‘perfect picture’ when in advertising or promoting a new makeup product as there are now programs like Photoshop that have features allowing photographers to change and manipulate images into what the client wants. This again adds to the pressure in society of people now wanting to be aesthetically ‘perfect’. Makeup and beauty is also present in other places such as on stage and in theater. This exposes a whole new side of makeup, like special effects and horror makeup (that is also evident in films too). This kind of makeup portrays the more fun and versatile side of makeup and the different outcomes you can create – these may not necessarily be ‘pretty’ either. Instead they may hold an uglier edge, or be something unique and weird. Some of the biggest makeup brands now use this kind of edge to attract an audience. By creating an unpractical look that is not designed for everyday use captures the eye more, and this is where the aid of photography can come in too. Lightening and set is important for these kinds of looks as it can help to create an atmosphere and change the overall feel of an image. Portrait photography is the most likely form of photography in terms of cropping and positioning for makeup and beauty. This is so the makeup can be clearly seen as well as the facial features and expression (this can completely change a look) and the angles of the face too (in today’s society this is something that is being seen more of, especially in the professional industry, as it’s considered fashionable and is the ‘it’ thing to see the angles and hollows on the face). Other forms of photography are being seen more of now too though as makeup has closely merged with the fashion industry and therefore entire looks with costumes are being photographed a lot too (especially for big fashion magazines) and therefore the whole body is being captured. Entire sets are also being used to enhance looks and add more emotion to an image. Makeup is a very versatile industry as it can be applied and photographed anywhere. Some of the most interesting images are not simply done in a made-up set or in a studio, but on location in e.g. in the water, in a city, on a beach etc. and all this helps to create the overall vibe the image gives off. Though makeup is evident to have been around and used for thousands of centuries within humanity and has been embraced by many different cultures and interpreted and used in their own way, photography has not. Thomas Wedgwood was the first person to invent the camera in 1790, and since then there have been many technological advances to the
  2. 2. photography quality we have today and withthe cameras we have today too. For example, digital photography did not come around till the mid-late 1900s, and with it being such an expensive art, there weren’t many people before the 21st century could afford to have a camera or be exposed to photography. Over time there were many photographers and inventors that then contributed to the development of the photography technology. Makeup and beauty photography itself has adapted over time with the idea and use of makeup becoming more prevalent in society along with the more recent high-fashion, editorial and artistic side to makeup that we see today. As mentioned though makeup has been around for such a long time, it really started to become and everyday fashionable item in the 1920s with the arrival of the ‘Flappers’. Show business was at all-time high and everyone wanted to look like their favourite stars and celebrities, who were photographed for all kinds of prestigious publications and advertisements. Over time, makeup became an iconic part of society and it has gradually become more and more acceptable. Every decade sees a different iconic look, whether it’s the long lashes, smokey doll eyes of the 1960’s teamed with pale lips, or the bright and vibrant hues that were worn throughout the 1980s, there is a multitude of different looks that have famously been photographed. Makeup in photography is also now being interpreted in different ways, and gone are the days of regular, wearable looks that were only seen in publications and photographed for art. The 21st centuary welcome a whole new kind of makeup and beauty photography, where models were no longer ‘perfect’ and looks could be as wild and as crazy as the heart desired. The way in which beauty is now perceived in society is different and therefore photography adapted with it, embracing the alien, unique and artistic looks that were now being seen and created by people everywhere. As the makeup world has such strenuous links with the fashion world and therefore with fashion photography, entire theatrical sets were being to emerge more for the sake of on photo and the idea of beauty and makeup photography strictly being portraiture work or a product for advertising was gone. Two photographers that are currently working in the area of makeup and beauty photography are Becky Van Ommen and Akos. Becky Van Ommen is a photographer form the Philippians who started her career in the industry at the age of 19 under top commercial photographer Francis Abraham. She is now based in London. Her work has strong cultural influences from both Holland and Nepal, and her style includes a unique blend of highly technical digital effects and traditional art, resulting in surreal conceptual imagery. She has worked for a number of prestigious clients since graduating from Ateneo de Manila University such as McDonalds, Nokia, Lynx and Pepsi to name a few and has an extensive body of work spanning the commercial industry. Nevertheless though, it was her work in the fashion and beauty industry that caught my attention themost, with Becky having photographed for numerous magazines and various fashion/beauty labels. This photo by her really caught my attention due to its contemporary execution and modern look. The photo is very clean and sterile, with only one colour (white) being present in the photo. The makeup in the photo reflects that seen in high-fashion or conceptual photography, making it a visually interesting piece as it’s not an
  3. 3. everyday ‘wearable’ look. Everything in the photo has been done in correspondence with the white colour that is so dominate in the photo. Becky has used shape to distinguish differences in the photo subtly without adding anything overpowering or distracting, for example the balls around the model as well as the strong shapes on the clothing she is wearing. The model in the photo has her eyes closed and this has created a serine and calm effect that matches the emotions that the white connotes. The eyes are the focal point even though they are closed – they have been accented using eyeliner in a delicate fashion and this in turn as added a dark contrast around them. This kind of beauty photography is becoming more prevalent in the beauty/photography world and we are seeing more looks that aren’t ‘wearable’ in a bid to create digital art. This second photo from Becky is another in which she has demonstrated her clean and contemporary approach to photography. In terms of the makeup in this photo a sterile look has been created on the model that compliments yet doesn’t over power the other elements of the photo (technology being the topic here). There are limited colours used in the photo and those that have been used contrast nicely against each other, black and white, greens and pinks etc. The model again has her eyes closed and this has created a strong emotional environment in the photo it wouldn’t have otherwise had – I also think this is another nice contrast against the theme being photographed (technology). Looking at Becky’s work it is evident there is a running style that sees a clean execution of her work in a contemporary fashion. There are digital graphic effects in the work and this has given it a modern edge that is being embraced by photographers today. I like the way there are subtle contrasts in her work and I like the simple approach she takes as it always – she works it in an effective way. Akos is another interesting modern photographer who specializes in beauty and fashion photography. Based in New York he has become renouned for the ‘timeless’ look he gives women when photographing them, giving his work an ever ending expiration date. Over the year he has built up a prestigious client base in the beauty industry including L’Oreal, Johnson, Vogue, Elle and Wella to name but a few, as well as working with a multitude of famous models and celebrities. This photo from his portfolio for Vogue beauty is an accurate reflection of modern beauty photography. His work has a fun and feminine vibe about it, where he embraces youth to create a contemporary piece of art that appeals to the fashionable audience. There is a definitive style about his work that makes it both high fashion and commercial. In this particular photo I like how the lightening and contrasting textures have made a visually interesting shot. I like the way he has directed his model and got expression out of her that looks both strong and powerful, as well as having a young and sexy sense about it too – it is balance perfectly in the shot. He works well with his models as they connect well with camera – this is important in photography like this as it draws the
  4. 4. audience in more. This second photo has embraced a more contemporary and edgy ‘weird’ look. The model has an ‘alien’ look about her and this has been accentuated with the striking makeup look. Akos’ work uses lots of different camera angles to compliment the look he is shooting, for example here there a slight angle pointing down toward the model and the cropping is tight, helping to create that weird look as angles like this distort the features more, and in the first photo a downward angle has been used again to soften the look of the model as she is so strong in the shot. Akos has a strong recognizable style about his work that is mature yet still so youthful. I think the in which he photographs does make his work timeless as he embraces new forms of makeup and art to photograph. Makeup and beauty photography have definitely taken a turn in recent years, with photographers looking for more edgy things to shoot (the idea of beauty is not so much ‘perfection’ anymore, but ‘pretty-ugly’ is considered more chic and fashionable). His body of work reflects both attitudes towards the industry making him diverse and interesting. Looking at my own work, I feel I have worked well with my chosen theme of makeup/beauty photography and been able to explore lots of different aspects of it whilst developing my own style. I have developed a portfolio that can be interrupted in different ways depending upon the viewer and executed them in a way that displays my maturing style and has helped to give my portfolio an edge to it that is my own. I think I have created a nice balance in my work between the classic idea of makeup and beauty photography and incorporating a more modern edge, embracing ‘weird’, ‘ugly’ and ‘alien’ beauty ideas. This idea is something I really wanted to embrace in my project so that viewers can be exposed to the more modern side of the beauty industry and how when incorporated with photography can make for a more visually interesting shot as opposed to one where the audience just see the stereotypical idea of beauty. I also think that by doing there can be more a message in the photo for the audience to analyze and interpret for themselves. I feel I have really progressed in this project and this is evident in the finer details of my work such as the cropping and the composition of the photo, the pose/expression of the model and the angle of the camera. Having such an interest in makeup as well as photography I think my creativity has really thrived in this project and I have also exposed myself to the makeup roles within the photography industry too (as I do all the makeup myself for shoots, I found myself thinking through more carefully every detail of the photo to ensure it was the best that could possibly be). I wanted to create more than just photos, but modern art, that visually interested an audience and exhibited something unique and distinctive to the artist. I remained engaged throughout the whole project and writing it myself has
  5. 5. definitely had influence in my interest. I found myself pushing my creative limits and constantly looking at other photographers I found influential to better my own work and bring it to a whole new standard. I feel confident in the sense that I feel my work is now more professional looking and I am able to critically analyze my work (which I did throughout my project) to improve it. In terms of the future of beauty photography I think there is an expanding industry that is constantly growing. Makeup and beauty will always be needed for advertising photography and therefore this aspect of photography will continue to grow with arrival of new cosmetics etc. High fashion and fashion in general also have strenuous links with makeup and beauty photography and therefore the topic can be brought under this ever-growing environment too. It is important to recognize though that makeup and beauty are starting to be recognized more as an art, and therefore photographing fantasy inspired, non-wearable, inspiring looks and becoming more and more popular. This growing evidence can be found in high end publications such as Vogue that are starting to distinguish and appreciate the variation that is ‘beauty’, and not just look at through a medias perception of ‘perfection’. Photography and makeup are both creative arts and therefore as long as there are creative minds I see the possibilities for the industry as being endless. Aside from nothing else there will always be an advertising market for the topic. Sure enough with the future will also bring technological advances in the photography that we see today, and this in turn will change how we execute a final photo. This will no doubt not only affect the particular topic that I have chosen to look at but also all aspects of the photographic industry – this in turn could affect how we receive the final photo and change the way photography is currently practiced. Makeup is a something that over time is becoming more and more prevalent in society and it is embraced and used by so many people. With this understanding, that was once not acceptable, I think it’s only natural to assume the makeup and beauty photography will expand as an industry as time progresses. Photography is such a large artistic industry in which many the topics of makeup and beauty fall under. With the changing society makeup is seen very much like fashion, there are constantly different trends and different type of makeup that so many people want to try, and on the other hand there are also so many crazy and artistic things that can be done with it in a more theatrical sense too. There are both old and new practitioners from all over the world and high demand for the work. Makeup and beauty photography is such a broad subject within the industry there is a lot that can be done in terms of creativity and new ideas.