Make-up and hair: Brandi Haymore
Photography: Negeen Sobhani
The rest: Incredible genes and a beautiful soul.
Make-up and hair: Brandi Haymore
It may very well be because I am a mother of a little-girl-turning-tween that the concept of beauty has been on my mind lately. Artists are naturally attracted to beauty, even though their interpretation of it is ever-evolving. In high school, I went my entire junior year without wearing a stitch of make-up. In fine art school my value of beauty was confronted when my delicately crafted, hand-colored Polaroid transfer of an orange lily was shrugged off by my professor as “just a flower” – words that to this day challenge me to interpret and not simply photocopy my world with photography. Eventually trained as a purist photojournalist, I looked for unaltered beauty to unveil itself in the stories I covered. At weddings, the excitement and joy of the momentous occasion paint such beauty on people’s faces and movements.
So what if people are removed from the events and emotions that inevitably make them gleam? My new challenge is to explore that. I would call it “beauty photography” but since I will employ techniques such as before-and-afters (what carries through between the untouched and the made-up?), simple lines, even lighting and modern posing, it actually falls into the genre of contemporary glamour. As you observe, I invite you to ask yourself, what makes an image beautiful? And I will continue to explore and capture it, despite Rumi’s claim that “the best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.” Touché.
It all started when he surprised her one day at her San Francisco doorstep with a box of of gourmet chocolate-covered pretzels that he delivered to her from New York and it culminated with each of their wedding guests holding their own jar of candy as a reminder of the beautiful union they’d just witnessed. Her name is Shirin which literally means “sweet.” It didn’t take long for me to see the shirin-ness about her: that adoration for delectable treats (the wedding guests matched those candy jars to the corresponding candy-themed dinner tables), her cheerful demeanor, sparkly eyes and a smile that you want to scrunch up and put in your pocket for a rainy day. This adorable bride and her groom Reed, whose heart is so tender and kind I think he stole it from a panda bear, create a love that is beyond sweet. It’s rich and deep and touches you way at the bottom of your soul. An unmistakable love that, coupled with their dedicated aspirations to serve their community, you just know will make their corner of the world a, well, sweeter place to be. Congratulations ShiReed!!
When my daughter Aliyah turned one month old on June 13, 2004, I, like every doting parent, took a photo of her. When she turned two months old on July 13, I took another photo. On August 13, I took another; on September 13, another; and kept going, month after month, taking her portrait on the 13th of every month. For 100 months.
Before automatic reminders, there was the 11pm realization that I’d forgotten it was the 13th resulting in a half-asleep prop-up in the crib (Nov 13, 05). There was time I was in Paris to shoot a wedding and photographed Aliyah through Skype on my laptop (Feb 13, 09). Twice we were apart with no way of “seeing” each other and either Grandma or Papá took care of the portrait. With the exception of those two portraits on Oct 13, 09 (I was queuing for a concert) and Apr 13, 10 (she and Papá were visiting Italy) I’ve managed to stop on the 13th of every month and capture a glimpse into Aliyah’s development, personality and environment.
I know. As she grows, life will often bump in the way of us being together. At the very least, the 13th can be our reoccurring date to connect. And with smart phones and good aim, we’ll manage to carry on our little project wherever we may be. For now, off to #101.