makeup and confidence: the visual effect of cosmetics on self-esteem

I chose to photograph women both with and without their makeup. My personal interest in this subject is a combination of a few things, but my own reasons for wearing makeup is what primarily inspired me to look into the impact that cosmetics make on a woman’s self confidence.

Here is the issuu presentation.

I am extremely pale, and I have blonde eyebrows and eyelashes. I started wearing glasses around 3 years old, and in typical early 90’s fashion, they were huge, which did not help me look any more “normal.” The glasses amplified my blonde eyelashes, and made other preschoolers think I was “an alien.” The first time I remember being very uncomfortable with the way I looked was some time around first grade, when I was asked for the first time out of the many, many times I have been asked to this day, “Are you albino?” “No,” I responded. At age 6, my understanding of “albino” only came from rabbits and mice, tiny white animals with red eyes. Mutations. Weirdos. (And any time anyone asked me this, almost without fail, some other kid who was around would chime in, “She can’t be, she doesn’t have red eyes.”) My parents assured me that I was not albino, but no one could ever give me answers as to why everyone else has dark hair, lashes, visible eyebrows, and the ability to tan. I was a freak.

Aside from my own experience growing up, my interest in makeup and the impact it makes on the wearer also came from one of my closest friends, Erinne, who  is a hair and makeup artist. (“It’s the most intense form of art. It’s your face.”) I had always viewed makeup as an appearance “enhancer,” with which one could take creative license. Erinne was more concerned with the creative license than anything else. She created blue and green hairstyles based off the color and movement of waterfalls, “neapolitan ice cream hair,” and rainbow makeup that went from the top of her forehead to the area just beneath her temples, punctuated by false eyelashes made of feathers. It is not to say that she did not use makeup to enhance what she looked like, but she definitely took many more risks than the average “makeup wearer,” and prided herself on doing so.

In this essay, I want my images to convey what makeup does for a woman. For some (such as the one of myself), it is to change or enhance appearance. For others, like Erinne’s, it is more of a form of self expression. Whatever the personal reason for wearing makeup, the emotional answer to this question lies in the contrast between the two images of each woman- the subtle difference in the person from one image to the other.

This entry was written by picturesofmeghan and published on March 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm. It’s filed under meghan's posts, pe, Photo Essay, Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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