Monday, May 14, 2007

the power of photography...

Yesterday I was at the gym "reading" a People magazine (lotsa pictures, a few words). It was their "100 Most Beautiful" issue, and mixed in with the standard glamour stuff was a spread of beautiful starlets and other women WITHOUT THEIR MAKEUP ON. This is a huge deal in the world of celebrity, so of course I was super curious.

And, although these women were all very cute and clean faced and attractive, not one of them was anyone you would normally look twice at. Sure, they were all pretty, and the photos were very well and artily done, but they just looked like people. Regular women.

Which is really shocking, when you're used to looking at them only in the most glamorous and made up of situations. Although there is a lot to envy (money, glamour, fame, power, etc etc), I for one cherish my ability to go to the grocery store after the gym in my sweaty sweats with sticking-up hair and no makeup. I hardly ever wear makeup - I can't imagine having to be fully made up every minute of my public day. Yuck!

The best part were the wrinkles. Not many, mind you, but Drew Barrymore in particular had some pretty little crow's feet, which I was thrilled to see. Granted, there was a whole big spread of her first in full makeup, styled to the hilt, right before that, and the photo of her makeup-free did feature a hat partially hiding her face... But, hypothetically, if I did have crow's feet at 28 years old (ahem), I might feel a lot better about myself, realizing that they are a normal thing at this age, and that anyone who is in the media is slathering on tons of makeup (and being airbrushed) to achieve their smooth, 17 year old perfect appearance.

The makeup-free photos (okay, I swear a few had to have at least eyeliner or clear mascara on!) were nicely done, and much more to my taste than the usual overblown, bigger than life stuff that celebrities usually pose for. I like portraits that show a bit of who you are, where you've been, and what you're thinking - which is harder to do when you're constantly covered in a mask.

More information (and photos!) on the process here and here!

I used to work for a photographer who told me once (as I was digitally removing some of her wrinkles on a contributor page photo), "See these wrinkles around my eyes? These are a result of this business!". I was a little dismayed a few years ago to find out that she was right.

However, I decided that they are kind of a badge of honor. I have wrinkly eyes not from frowning or being stressed out, but from a big smile that squinches up my eyes, and from peering through cameras all the time.

So, I might use my eye cream, but I'm not gonna trip out over these things.

On a totally different note, I just found this website with the most amazing, astonishing documentation of modern globalization and consumption. If that doesn't make you want to stop using disposable bags and water bottles, I don't know what will!

Check out his work for sure!

It's so interesting how there is "ugliness" in people we hold up as beauties, and beauty in the chaos of such ugly waste...
That sounds like kind of a trite statement, but also true. The artist's job is to find the balance between obvious beauty and complexity - I think these are both good examples of what I strive to find in my work. Depth in something simple and obvious like the landscape or every day objects, as well as in people. Perfection in chaos and complexity in obvious beauty.

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