I have been absolutely DYING to share these photos with you, and now that the September issue of M People is out, I finally can!!
I've had the pleasure of working with Bajan singer Malissa Alanna for a while as her makeup artist. Earlier this year, we started talking about doing a beauty photo shoot for fun. I got Alyson on board as the photographer, and then I set to work with the concept.
Malissa has a wonderful face for makeup, and can look completely different depending on the colour palette and style of makeup, and I wanted to make the most of that. I've always wanted to interpret the Elements artistically with makeup, and while toying with that idea I decided to transform Missy into five different Queens: Air, Fire, Water, Earth and the Void.
Drawing on esoteric concepts (since I'm quite airy-fairy), I used the seasons (which, in Neo-Paganism, correspond to the four elements) as the inspiration for the colour palette, style of makeup and the crowns.
I also gave each Queen a name, in order for us to be able to connect to each one and get to know her. In directing the shoot, I gave Malissa a mood-word for each Queen to help her get into character, and to help Alyson know how to light and shoot each look. I also loved the idea of doing this with one model because each aspect portrayed by the Queens is found in every woman.
And here are the final shots!
Nieve - Air Queen of Spring. Her mood-word was Rebirth. I mainly used my Coastal Scents 88 Color Palette over NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk. I also gave her a purple wash over the cheekbones instead of a highlight, to give the impression of newness and the flush of blood through the face, and for the same reason on the lips I used a pink lipstick as a stain just at the centre of her mouth for a fresh flush. Lashes are from Ardell. I made the crown from craft store Raffia, butterflies and feathers. The colour palette was the fresh, soft yellows, greens, blues and pinks of Spring.
Aine - Fire Queen of Summer. Her mood-word was Passion. I used Flamepoint, Love+ and Buttercupcke from my Sugarpill Burning Hearts Palette to create the sunbursts. Did you notice that the starburst on one eye is the negative/positive opposite of the other? Fun! I used a much darker foundation on the face, neck and chest to tan Malissa up, leaving her natural skin tone only in the centre of the sunbursts. For lips I mixed Sugarpill Goldilux with a little clear gloss, took Goldilux through the brows a well, and sprinkled rhinestones over her shoulder. I placed each rhinestone by hand...it was painstaking! Lashes are from Ardell. Her crown was made by wrapping the stems of spiky fake flowers in a cluster on an orange bandeau. The colour palette encompassed all the warm, passionate gold, red, bronze, brass and copper of Summer.
Maeve - Water Queen of Autumn. Her mood-word was Dream. I used Sugarpill Poison Plum, MAC Carbon and soft matte browns from the CS 88 Palette for the eyes. I wanted to create a look that was inspired by a skull, since Autumn is the time when death creeps over the land, and so I kept the eye shape dep and round. I used Goldilux on the lashes, around the perimeter of the face and down the neck to give her an otherworldy look. The lipstick was a deep wine colour from Avon called Cherry Jubilee. Her crown was made by braiding very long synthetic hair with copper and gold ribbons and little copper twigs from a plastic wreath.
Elysia - Earth Queen of Winter. Her mood-word was Silence. I gave Malissa's naturally Bisque skin a pinker tone by applying a cool toned highlight all over the face, neck, shoulders and chest. I covered her eyebrows using glue, and used MAC Carbon and Sugarpill Lumi on the eye and to create the new brows. MAC fluidline in Blacktrack was used for her dramatic, graphic winged liner. I used a bright pink blush very sheerly on her cheek and Lumi as an all over highlight. the black lips were a mix of black pencil liner and clear gloss. The crown was made by dyeing and heavily starching black a piece of very old white crocheted lace which I then attached to a plain black bandeau using wire to support it.
Alma - Queen of the Void, represents everything and nothing. Her mood-word was Spirit. She is difficult to interpret: how do you protray literal nothingness? I went for pure white everything to challenge myself to be able to make depth in a monochromatic setting. I covered up the eyebrows, and used Mehron white face paint mixed with a hint of Missy's own porcelain-toned foundation (so she wouldn't look like a sheet of paper) all over her face, ncek and shoulders. I dusted Poison Plum very lightly in the outer corner and along the lower lashline to define the eyes. I kept her contours slightly lavender-tinted instead of flat grey to boost all the white without cooling it down or warming it up too much. The lips were filled in with the foundation mixture, a nd lined with pale purple only on the outer lipline which I then blended inward for a very subtle ombre effect. Crown is actually just a string of crystals pinned into the hair.
I decided to stick to close-up Beauty shots because we financed this ourselves and couldn't afford to make costumes, and so instead I hand-made special crowns for each Queen. Nieve wore butterflies, grass, and flowers, Aine wore spiky orange flowers, Maeve wore a golden braid with copper ribbons, Elysia wore black lace, and Alma wore a circlet of crystals.
We shot all five looks on the same day, and everything that could go wrong, did! We were without electricity for over 4 hours, and had to re-work our entire shooting schedule. We ended up shooting until well after midnight, because some each look, especially Elysia and Aine, took nearly two hours to create and then almost an hour to set up and shoot. But we all got along so well that we turned it into a girls' day, and we had a lot of fun working together. Malissa and Aly were such awesome sports and did such an incredible job of bringing my vision for this to life. We are all thrilled with the results, and I'm super excited that M People has decided to run the finished shots!
More exciting stuff to come so stay tuned!!