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NEW GUARD: the changing face of beauty

15.08.2017 | Beauty , Culture , Fashion | BY:

The beauty ideal has remained shamefully homogeneous in recent history, but is it fair to say there’s a new mood afoot? If current trends in fashion and beauty casting are anything to go by, there’s an unprecedented appetite for diversity in the faces that make up our visual landscape: one that better reflects the complexity and nuance of the real world, where interest and authenticity trumps perfection.

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Beauty photographer Felicity Ingram captures this new mood in her work (pictured), and says a big part of the equation is in casting the right face, someone whose appeal lies more in their character than in their symmetry. She elaborates: “I got bored of clients and magazines telling me I couldn’t shoot a certain girl because they weren’t a ‘beauty’ model. Personally, I think this idea’s very dated. I’m more interested in shooting faces that I find interesting; girls with personalities that engage with the camera”.

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Similarly model bookers are riding the crest of this more inclusive movement, and seeing a shift in the way clients are responding to ‘unconventional’ models. As Steve Haynes, Head of Women’s New Faces & Image Division at Nevs Models explains: “2017 has definitely been a turning point for this, it’s been a bit of a domino effect. As an agent, if you don’t offer diverse talents then there’s no way of the clients booking these models, therefore how can the industry open up and grow in this area. I think once clients are presented with more unusual or alternative talent they can be enlightened and swayed into thinking outside the box. This is happening more and more as time – even the year- progresses.”

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Trends in social media have given rise to street casting, which is shifting the beauty paradigm into new territories too. Model Julia from Storm (pictured) explains: “street casting and Instagram have changed the rules of the industry and the opacity of the game is diminishing. I think the more human models become, the more human we want them to be, I really hope that trajectory is stable”. Where previously it was a top-down dictatorship of the beauty ideal, now there’s a shift towards a more democratic selection process, where the people choose what they engage with and what they find beautiful; and in 2017 this certainly feels a little something like progress at the very least.

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Shoot credits:
Models:
Jazzelle, Storm
Chantelle, Storm
Coral, Nevs
Razan, Storm
Julia, Storm 
Makeup: Siddhartha Simone, Julian watson
Makeup: Pamela Cochrane, Bridge Artists
Hair: Anna Cofone, The Wall Group 
Photography: Felicity Ingram, Visual Artists 
With special Thanks to BD Images

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Stef Mitchell: the bigger picture

01.12.2015 | Art , Culture | BY:

How many times have you looked at a photograph and wanted to know what was happening in the exact moment that it was taken? How the air felt? If the people behind and in front of the lens even knew each other?

This is exactly what we tried to remedy with New York-based photographer, Stef Mitchell. Her absorbing work – which has appeared in places such as i-D and Urban Outfitters – is particularly portrait strong, so we asked her to share a few of her favourite shots, and tell us the story behind them. For Stef – who originally hails from Sydney, Australia – it’s the little things that count: “I just want to make nice pictures that make people react or feel something, even if it’s small.”

Here are a few of her characters.

Frida (main)

“The subject’s name is Frida Gustavsson, she’s in her early twenties and she’s from Sweden. This was taken in Tompkins Square Park right in the middle of the basketball court off ave A and 10th street. I remember it was the longest day of summer and it was hot and started raining as soon as Frida and I met up. I probably ate some M&Ms. I love Frida! We’d met on a few jobs while I was assisting. She’d just had a palm tree that I drew tattooed on her arm and sent me a picture, so we met up and took some pictures. I think afterwards we watched the World Cup and had a beer. I think Frida had just gotten engaged – we chatted about her spending time in LA, midsummer and a short film she was working on. Frida was so easy to shoot because she’s awesome and was totally comfortable for me to shoot while we chatted; it’s my favorite thing to do and it’s kind of rare for someone to be totally OK with letting me do it. I wasn’t really sure what ‘the shot’ was at the time but I think it was the first spot we took pictures in in the park. I love this picture because it’s so simple but people always respond to it. Frida is an amazing model and human and I think that comes through even with no hair, make-up or styling.”

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Boy

 Boy

“This was taken in the skate park under the Manhattan Bridge. The weather was pretty perfect that day, mild and sunny. I was on a job and had eaten everything in sight. I was scouting the area in between shots and just looked up and saw this guy. I’d never met him before but had just been chatting to his friend. I asked if I could take a picture, he said ‘OK’ but he didn’t really like doing it. I got two frames in before he skated off. I don’t know anything else about him. I love this picture because even though he was nervous, he just looked dead at me and didn’t try to do anything crazy.”

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Charlotte

 Charlotte

“This was taken outside my mums place in a suburb called Lane Cove in Sydney, Australia. It was about 7am and a big fog covered the street. My 14-year-old sister Charlotte was getting ready for hockey practice, and I dragged her outside for a photo. This is what she gave me. I’d maybe had some vegemite toast. When I made Charlotte come outside I thought she was very grumpy and turned out to be correct. Charlotte was probably 13 in this picture, and at the time her unique trait was to try and pull a face or flip someone off every time they took her photo. I think we were outside for about five minutes. I love this picture because every time I go home I try and shoot Charlotte on this street. She’s always been one of my favorite subjects and even though I miss so much time with her I like to think I’ll have a good series of pictures of her growing up for when she’s older.”

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Julia

 Julia

“This is Julia Hafstrom, she’s in her early twenties, and from Sweden. This was taken under a tree in Tompkins Square Park near the corner of Ave B. The weather was overcast and I definitely ate M&Ms this time. I thought Julia was a bad ass. We’d met before on a few shoots in LA. I think we talked about weird photographers, books and mums. Unique traits: being totally easy, fun and of course incredibly beautiful with the skin of 15th century cherub. I think we shot for half an hour, but again this was the first spot we were in and it ended up being my favourite. I love this picture because without doing anything Julia gave something real to the picture, and that’s my favourite.”

stef-mitchell.com

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