Updated: Dec 3, 2018
If you ask any budding portrait photographer which master of the art inspires them the most, I am willing to bet that the name of Annie Leibovitz will top that list. Google will confirm this. Annie's work is remarkable and memorable for so many reasons, not least of all because she manages to bring an element of drama and mystique to whatever subject she photographs. Whether it is her commercial work featuring celebrities or it is a social documentary of war veterans, Annie's style turns them into iconic images that are very hard to look away from.
Different photographers will draw inspiration from Annie to suit their own unique styles. For me it is the way in which Annie imparts charisma to her subjects through her framing, lighting and angles that is most motivational. In a world that is often grim and grey I find photography is a way of seeing that can refocus our sights onto what is pleasing and aesthetic in our lives. I often photograph what I find beautiful - flowers, women, scenes that calm the soul when you look at them. So imagine my delight when I was invited to collaborate with a make-up artist who wanted to showcase three different looks that are hot this season. A chance to be engulfed by beauty - literally.
Cheryl Marie Wright is a talented and award-winning make up artist based in Penistone, South Yorkshire. A former graphic designer, who had a short stint teaching school kids, Cheryl found her vocation when she started doing make-up professionally. Watching Cheryl at work it is obvious her design background and artistic sensibility has been a positive asset in developing her make-up career. She uses the finest products and treats her work like a work of art, using careful and considered brush strokes to produce perfect results that will last.
For the collaborative project Cheryl wanted to demonstrate three distinct make-up looks for weddings and evening occasions. Assisted by Rebecca Shaw doing hair and couture dresses by designer Kay Heeley of Angel Couture we met on a unexpectedly warm and bright Sunday.
Drawing on this season's popular palette of magenta shades Cheryl created two complementary looks for brides who wanted to start the day with a light and fresh feel but later intensify the appearance for a dramatic evening ambience.
The first look was created using naturally warm shades complementing model Molly's clear, pearly skin. A white couture dress designed by Kay Heeley completed the look.
The lacy bodice of the dress hugged model Molly's lovely curves before flaring into a cloudy and breezy skirt, creating a soft and feminine elegance to set off the feathery lightness of Cheryl's make up. Molly looked stunning and fresh as a spring flower. Later Cheryl reworked the make-up with minimal fuss to deepen the colours and add drama to the eyes. She applied a darker lipstick for the evening. By adding a diamante hair accessory to the hair, the dress was also transformed into a sultry number. The transition from day to night took hardly any time and created such a striking change that you have to see the two looks together to appreciate the difference.
For the final set of photos Cheryl started from scratch with a tried and tested smoky look. Using silver and charcoal shades that never lose their appeal Cheryl coupled the look with a black satin dress designed by Kay Heeley.
Suitable for a wedding or for an evening out the make up gave Molly's innocent face a devilish charm. Once again Cheryl demonstrated that the look itself could be adapted to create more drama through darker shades of lipstick. The original lipstick she used was natural and soft, which toned down the intensity of the look a little.
The day flew by almost as fast as the wind sweeping through the grass as we shot Molly outside. Working with three talented and chatty women was great bonus feature of the day. I have become a massive fan of collaborations as I can see how rewarding it can be for everyone involved. As for the photos, well we might not put Annie to shame but I'm pretty certain they capture the intended mood and message. A big thank you to Becky on hair and Cheryl on make up for showing me how much fun one can have with the right colours, products, approach and of course 'attitude'.