Monday, 1 October 2012

Changing Face

Alyson challenged me to change the ethnicity of these two beautiful girls, which is something I've always been fascinated by. Shannon and Adri were fantastic, they were such good sports about it because this took a long time (about an hour and a half each). You'll recognize both Adri and Shannon from other shots in my Portfolio. They are two of my favourite models to work with, and you'll be seeing them in future videos, too!

Alyson's idea was to create these beautiful dark women and then show them wiping away their makeup. It was meant to be a commentary on how we perceive beauty and the strain on women to be other than they are in order to be beautiful.

We started with Adri. She has bright blue-green eyes naturally, and we decided to make her look East Indian. Because I don't own an airbrush, I used liquid foundation and built up layer after layer to create the right depth of tone for the skin. I tried to keep it "artistic" looking, and Aly took photos of the process as a part of the project.

The second photo is about three layers of foundation. Once her foundation was complete, I could go ahead and contour her face. Below is the finished product.

We purposely left areas undone, like Adri's chest and shoulders, and made the edges messy. That's what Aly was going for.

Then it was Shannon's turn. Where Adri's natural skin tone is milky and rosy (I am absolutely in LOVE with Adri's skin and rarely cover it up with foundation when I do her makeup), Shannon is more of a pale Olive tone with brown eyes, and she has stronger facial architecture, and so we decided to take her much darker than Adri. Below is a shot of her with just one layer of foundation.

And Shannon's finished face.

Below is a group shot of the two girls. Adri' eyes are done, but her skin was two layers of foundation away from being finished, and Shannon still only had one layer of foundation on.

 And here they are, both finished (below). Note Adri's finished tone is more of a golden-toned brown, where Shannon's is much more dusky, with an almost blue undertone.

This final shot was Aly's original idea: to portray the anguish we can feel when we are trying to fit ourselves into some ideal of beauty and fail.

For the darkening of the skin on both girls I used various dark tones of Black Opal Liquid Foundation and Loose Powder. I stippled the foundation on with torn wedge sponges and buffed the powder in gradually with a small brush every few layers (it was a lot of liquid to set!). For the eyes and eyebrows I used my Coastal Scents 88 Colour Palette.

We did repeat this concept with two Black girls, and I'll post the results of that one shortly. I must confess, making Black girls white was infinitely more difficult that making White girls black, and the latter was no easy feat!

It's important also to say that Aly and I were commenting on the racial struggles we have, as well as the beauty struggles. We were in no way, however, saying that one race is "better" or "worse" than the other. But skin colour is one of the most immediate ways to show the contrast and conflict. White girl's tan themselves into an early grave and Black girls bleach themselves grey every day. It is something Aly and I are very passionate about. We want to raise awareness and make people pay attention in our own small way. Art is meant to hold a mirror up to society. These photos were exhibited in Aly's most recent show, and they did create quite a bit of buzz. They made people very uncomfortable, which we are extremely happy about. When people are uncomfortable they tend to sit up and pay attention, and are much more likely to act!

Stay tuned for more very soon!!


  1. this was good! was thinking about a similar concept just this week!

  2. Thanks! This was very challenging because I used liquid. But it was awesome fun!


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