BEAUTY, ARTISTIC FREEDOM AND THE DIGITAL AGE

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Caption: Photography by Norwegian, Chris Aadland, Make-up by Carly Hart. (Not from Beauty Papers) Original source: @carlyhartmakeup

Flicking through the A3 sheets of ‘Beauty Papers’ Magazine, Issue 1: Plastic, Winter 2016, I witness established artists and the power of facial expression. Perfumier, make-up artist and photographer, Serge Lutens, shares wisdom and offers a glance into his humble beginnings into the world of painting faces. He’s 74 years old and says in relation to the expansion of digital photography, “What counts is the satisfaction you get from something – it’s the expression, through whatever means, modern or not. Nobody cares what mediums you’re using to produce something beautiful.” <1>

To some extent, digital advancement is irrelevant according to Lutens, and to quote Picasso, “If I didn’t have paint, I would paint with soil, and if I didn’t have soil, I would paint with shit.”

Lutens utters – it’s the essence that matters and not the technique. He is confident in what disgusts him, which, I think is a jolly good thing. I think Instagram has ruined clever art (when laughter lines are dabbled with, dimples removed and moles covered up) We don’t even recognise our own friends and that’s sad. Yet, I don’t judge a soul for doing it, if the option to remove dark circles is there, why not? A photographer would keep the dark circles, and portray them on someone who had been taking shots at dawn or sleep walking in an unfamiliar trance. I wonder which image would score the most likes?

I have to agree with Lutens, that there are very few people who wish to break the rules – make-up has become a uniform of; intrusive eyebrows, plumped lips and a body conquest for  a bottom which resembles a shelf. Papers said no to advertising in the magazine, they don’t wish to be dictated to by brands. Lutens is certain they will eat you up, slowly. But obviously, let’s be real, the print journalism world is dying and the big brands help keep writing afloat. It’s the young and impressionable I fear for most, just look at the fitness industry – where you’re judged on the quality of your avocado and the deepness of your squat. I’ve worked in it, it’s a suffocating place of wannabe yogis and outrageous Lycra. I will never have a six pack, why? Because I don’t want one.

I live with a make-up artist and I know I’m biased, but she’s one of the good ones. Each night before bed, we fight for the sink, so I can brush my teeth and so she can wash her brushes with her goat milk shampoo. Dozens balance along the white tiles, resting from a day of dusting, brushing, patting and stroking.

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Make-up by Carly Hart www.carlyhart.com 

I’m described as ‘low maintenance’ in the house, I have worn Nivea ‘Pearl & Shine’ since I was fifteen and I swear by it. I will also rarely leave the house without a good coating of bronzer. I hate posed imagery and bathroom selfies. Natural shots bring personality and true self. I can’t abide restricted family portraits but love what the coast wind does to my hair.

Lutens created the colours for Dior make-up in his kitchen, he was too shy to go into the Dior laboratory, he feared for the criticism. What he was certain about was grabbing freedom, which is true. You have to be dangerous and take risks, no one else is going to give you freedom. “I became a genius – that’s how you become a genius, people begin to copy you.”

Except – they’re copying an art and not an individual. Let’s be us and express our imperfections and appreciate the beauty in whatever medium you dare choose.

Reference 

1,2,3: (2016) Leonard, M. PERFUMIER, MAKE-UP ARTIST AND PHOTOGRAPHER SERGE LUTENS TALKS TO MAXINE LEONARD ABOUT BEAUTY, AUDACITY AND ARTISTIC FREEDOM. Cited in: Beauty Papers, Issue 1: Plastic, Winter 2016 p.46-52, International export press, United Kingdom.

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