When it comes to inspiration, I have a tendency to reign it in from various elements, one of them being music. I’ve been a longtime fan of Deftones, admiring their heavy yet so beautiful and dark sound. Since the beginning of 2015, I’ve desired to incorporate that love into a photoshoot inspired by their sounds and style, I just wasn’t quite sure how to at first. However after letting the idea simmer some time, it dawned on me to blend another layer of inspiration, the majestic beauty of Greek mythology. Coincidently, a few of the Deftones song are named after Greek mythology… Minerva, Xerces, Eros (the unreleased and final album with the late bassist, Chi Cheng). I finally envisioned a collection that was a Rockera Goddess infusion. Once this vision was in place, I knew the teams I would form would be need to dynamic. So I decided on involving a few of the top hairstylists, makeup artists and modeling talents the Louisville Art Scene had to offer. Yet I didn’t just throw teams together, I formed them based on who has never worked with each other before. This created a fresh and unique chemistry for each set, yet still achieving a cohesive theme across the entire collection. The only requirement I asked was that each Hairstylist create an asymmetrical style and each makeup artist create a complimenting look to the hairstyle.
Once the stones were set in place, I knew what I needed to do on my end, which was figure my lighting style and background elements. Naturally with this being a beauty collection, I went with a traditional clamshell lighting set up using a Profoto D1 Air 500 with a socked beauty dish then gridded at 10º as the key light and Westcott Eyelighter reflector for fill underneath the models face. I also used a Profoto D1 250 Air as a kicker hair light to either camera left or right depending on the direction the model faced. This would throw just enough kick to highlight the details of the hair. As for my background, I knew it had to be raw, edgy and rich in texture as this would contrast with the beauty set up. I ended up using a sliding iron door, a hand painted Oliphant backdrop and a basement concrete wall. As dates were set and the photoshoots were executed, I became overwhelmed with an immense feeling of accomplishment. Camaraderie of artistic visions were truly what breathed life into this collection and I personally couldn't be more proud of each and every artist involved. From the Hairstylists, Makeup Artists and Stylist figuring their looks to the modeling talents executing the elegant yet fierce poses, each of them went above and beyond what was asked. Now on behalf of 12 contributing artists, I present The Eros Collection.
Kalen Helfrich - Hair Stylist
Anastasia Gerdes – Makeup
Livia Hope – Talent
Kristina Sellers – Styling & Wardrobe
Joey Goldsmith – Behind the Scenes
Kalen – “I'm drawn to the idea of incorporating hard and soft in the looks I create. For this look in particular, it was important to create a voluminous and very structured foundation, on which the hair on top could appear weightless and ethereal. To help create this foundation I used Eufora's Full Effect, a Dry Texturizing Spray. To help sculpt and create volume and texture through the top I used Eufora's Details, a Dry Spray Wax. I then used Paul Mitchell's Stay Strong hair spray to set the look, and Eufora's Illuminate Shine Mist as the beautiful finishing touch”.
Livia – “When the Eros Project was presented to me, I was more than ready to jump in. I love any kind of dark, rebellious, rock-star work. I had heard great things about the team involved with the Eros Project, and they exceeded those already great expectations. All of these wonderfully talented people came together and combined their powers to create the wickedly awesome Eros Project”.
Kristina Sellers "I went with a plunging neckline on the dress to showcase a rustic, 3-tiered statement necklace, which I thought represented a contemporary take on the Grecian feel for wardrobe/accessories”.
Matthew Tyldesley – Hair Stylist
Bethany Hood - Makeup Artist
Talent – Jessie Neidert
Styling and Wardrobe – Kristina Sellers
Matthew – “Gary had approached me about being involved in this collection inspired by mythology and Rock and roll and I could not pass up the opportunity. In addition it was a collaboration between many amazingly talented artists. Gary had initially created a Pinterest board of imagery to capture the feel of a “Goddess”. I envisioned Red Sonja and She-Ra from childhood and wanted to create volume but also some texture to bring out the “Rocker” feel.
I knew the image was going to be shot from three aspects so I knew I could play with asymmetry. I created curved cornrows on our models left side and embraced her hairline to anchor the chains that are adorning her right cheek. On her right side extending to her nape I created a twisting braid for a different effect. The entire top section was marcel ironed on a 2 inch ceramic curling iron and allowed to cool. I added colored hair pieces for contrasts and effect. Afterward the hair was teased out and brushed and secured with hairpins for a Mohawked feel”.
Bethany – “When approaching the makeup styling for my contribution in the EROS COLLECTION, the majority of inspiration came from the model. The one concept I knew would be involved in some way regardless of the color palette was having small chains literally laying on her face. As Jessi sat in hair and makeup her look unfolded to me. The color of her eyes selected shades of purple and her fantastical bone structure demanded an emphasis on her cheek contour. Too match the intensity of hair but not over exaggerate the style I applied a bold brow with smokey eye and winged liner to shape the eyes”.
Jessi – "The experience as a model for the Eros shoot was very much so outstanding and made me feel to say "powerful" with elegance. I felt like the team all seen eye to eye on the vision we were aiming for. The hair by Matthew was just beautiful with much of a twist. Many braids and textures was put into the style. One side seemed more powerful and strong as the other was a bit more elegant and relaxed. Make up by Bethany was simple but strong. Bethany had done a powerful smokey eye and added chains to one side of my face/hair in which of course would make any body feel almost like a warrior / strong. Kristina was the designer and the dress that I had worn with its gray metallic material, chains and chunky necklaces tied everything together ever much so. Last but not least Gary seen me all finished up and ready to shoot. He had help guide me to where I could bring the best pose into play and make our image come true. All together the shoot it's self is one that would be hard to forget. The team was strong and so was the look, I feel we had done our complete best. We really went over and beyond to shoot this beautiful Eros Collection".
Kristina Sellers - "For Jessi, I wanted layers of mixed metals, to play off the contrasting vibe of the iridescent grey dress with the leather quilted shoulder pads. The chains worked in our favor, by being double represented in her hair/make-up applications as well”.
Ana Perez – Hair Stylist
Isidro Valencia – Make-up Artist
Talent - Morgan Matchuny
Styling and Wardrobe – Kristina Sellers
Ana – “When collaborating with a group of artistic individuals, communication is essential in order to achieve a stunning unison product. That's what came about of my participation in the collaboration of The Eros Collection. My inspiration for hair was simply twisting the idea of a traditional goddess into an urban-edgy-in-your face woman warrior. I am in love with the idea of the urban warrior woman making a statement and that's why I came up with this look. Achieving such an art piece with hair isn't easy, but using the right tools anything is possible. For texture I used my Sam Villa Texture Crimping Iron along with Redken Iron Shape #11 (for heat protection). Next using elastics and different braiding techniques I created a Mohawk and finally added some different braided and textured extension pieces to give it a more edgy look. My working and finishing products of choice Redken Braid Aid, Glo Dry Oil and Triple Take #32 hair spray. I hope you enjoy this image as much as my team and I did in creating such an awesome collection.
Isidro – “The best way to create art is express your feelings and emotions. I'm obsessed with color and I wanted to create something that identified my personality. Something fun, creative & colorful. I used "Make Up For Ever" cosmetics because their colors are vibrant, super pigmented & easy to work with”.
Morgan – “I was asked to come on board for the Eros project and instantly said yes with excitement. I loved that the dark and ethereal theme was weaved together using so many diversely talented people I hadn't worked with previously. Coming together to create such a unique and artistic concept was a great experience”.
Kristina Sellers - “Morgan's makeup and hair were very heavy, so for her wardrobe, I aimed for something soft to haul in that feminine 'Goddess' look. I played on the juxtaposition of the dark tones Isidro and Ana set, by placing light, double layered gold chains atop her white pleated gown”.
On a closing note, I'd like to personally thank our friends Ashlee Levitch and Lori Barsamian over at Bangstyle for graciously and exclusively featured our work. Their platform showcases a huge array of talented artists, and for them to choose our work, was quite the humbling experience. You can see their feature along with a short introduction to history of the goddesses over at - http://bit.ly/21okEMj.
A personal journal about any given day in my photography career where I will write about anything from portraits and headshots to sharing my educational experiences. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, it's my pleasure to share my stories with you!