This folio shows how women can be simple and beautiful at the same time; echoing the beauty we see in nature, these women are beautiful in front of our eyes. None of these women traditionally fit the definition of “fashion model” or “beauty model”, (read: tall, skinny, beautiful skin, shiny hair, and the poise of confidence) but as we look into nature, is everything truly beautiful? All the time?
The power of communication with these women about their bodies is echoed onto these frames. These women took the simple beauty of nature as their background, and blossomed. I can honestly say of these women that each one has individual and personal struggles. They all feel the stress in life and can forget to find their own beauty. As if the rush of life has been suppressing them, these women have endured the struggles. For just a few moments, I’ve asked these women to just simply breathe, find confidence, and communicate to the viewer their endurance and strength in life.
The purpose of this series is to show that any woman is beautiful, no matter the struggles, emotional or physical stress, or anything, can take away a beautiful perception that we, the viewers, see in her. The conceptual intent is that she feels beautiful while it happens, her posture and poise are demanding power, her eyes and body language create a communication with the camera.
When I chose this project, there was a large piece of me that had been struggling. This personal struggle really led me to find beauty, if I could not find it within my own self. From behind the viewfinder, my vision of life changes; suddenly, everything is absolutely beautiful. My own personal struggles can be set aside and I feel free to help others with theirs. My personal voice comes out through the images, just wishing to be the positive and the beautiful things in the world; why add to the negative in the world?
These images used careful direction and communication with each of the models. I asked them to wear a certain style of clothing (no jeans, a bit of texture, neutral clothing, and makeup to emphasize the eyes). I carefully chose a location that would have softer or attractive, natural light. I used both shallow and great depths of field; shallow on facial shots, and greater on shots that include more of the body. This was done to create focal points and/or contrast within the images. I think that by giving everyone the same guidelines, the images were able to be cohesive just as the background was for each of them. I think that this project was very much a success since the women loved having their picture taken, thanked me, and told me they felt relaxed, or beautiful, or couldn’t believe that the images in front of them were of them.
Creatively, the next time I take on a beauty project, it will be bold more than feminine. This one speaks to my heart and needed to be feminine and soft in order to find my own beauty; another success throughout this project. The only thing I would have done differently was include more women.
In order to complete the images, I used processes to make these look timeless. I’ve applied black and white, sepia, selenium, and cyanotype processes as well as added grains. Since my project included people, I found it dangerous to manipulate the texture of the images, and decided that it was smartest to keep them as true to form as possible.
When we view these images, we see femininity, simplicity, beauty, and confidence in these women. We are encouraged to find our own by finding theirs.
“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mahatma Gandhi
If you are on a quest to find confidence, you must believe in yourself. With that belief comes your confidence.
Head up, Love.
E L I S E