Beauty Make-Believe

It takes a team of 12 people and a whole day to create a set of images worthy of a magazine cover. What you need: A model; photographer, makeup artist, hair stylist, fashion stylist, editor,designer, lighting designer, photographer, photographer’s assistant, computer editors and a large budget!

The following commercial by Dove shows the process that goes into making an image ready for publication with computer manipulation creating the final touches.

We are all aware of air brushing; virtually no image goes to publication without going through this process. The media debate about it, cosmetic companies get sued for false claims and the occasional model and celebrity fiercely guard their right to an image, free from manipulation. All noble stuff, but it doesn’t stop the fact that we still compare ourselves to others, does it?

I looked again at BEAUTY SKETCH and thought about what Florence said..”My Mum told me I had a big jaw”

In my work, I have heard people describe themselves with resignation and ease over their looks based on what others’ have said.The comments are always from a negative perspective which I find sad and shocking.There can be no doubt that key figures such as parents, teachers and the relationships we choose play an influential role in our lives for better or for worse. In life, we demand respect and courtesy from others’ but perhaps we should also learn ownership of our physical appearance before anyone feels they have the right to.

Like your body, your face is a part of you, not apart from you. By learning to own what you see in the mirror, being proud of your flaws and embracing your unique qualities, others’ will perhaps will be able to do the same.



Postcard from nature


Before I go further into the blogosphere I thought I would give you a minature glimpse into my life with a collage!



Although it was quite a spontaneous process, I nevertheless picked out things that had meaning; Things I have collected; photos and precious objects that have been given to me over the years. Having absorbed myself in the process, I realised I had surrounded myself in nature of one kind or another (the portrait is taken in a forest) Having grown up next to water and countryside, I can’t go too long without either. They clear my head and allow me to re-set myselfNature fascinates me with the way it is able to renew itself and adjust to the changing elements and our (new improved) crazy weather system. Shoots push their way up through rotten leaves on the forest floor, bright beech leaves spring out of the side of trunks and where you thought flowers could not grow, they do. Everything manages to find a place to prosper and if it doesn’t, it gets used as food or fertilizer for something else.

Fashion, like nature brings new ideas to us on a seasonal basis and can inspire us to adapt to our elements; figure, age and personal demands. It recycles itself to Charity shops, clothes swap parties and good old fashioned hand-me-downs and slowly but surely, it is trying to meet some of the demands we place on the environment.

Next time you are thinking of buying a new outfit, take a look in your closet to see what can be recycled or altered into something else, or have a good rummage in a second hand store, vintage or flea market for something unusual and adapt it to your style.

Like fashion, nature inspires me to keep growing; find new paths and to always look for the sun through the trees- I hope it can do the same for you!






Style Senioritas

Elegant; exquisite, glorious, resplendent, statuesque, flawless, radiant, ravishing and stunning are just some of the adjectives to describe beauty.

Who pops into your mind when you see these words? A glamorous actor, a supermodel, a TV star or someone you work with, or are related to?

For a while now, my head has been turning for a second look, to a group of Women not usually associated with the words flawless or ravishing, but are holding the torch fierce and bright, leaving many of the younger generation in the shade.

I’m referring to folk in their 60’s, 70’s 80’s and beyond who are gracing our Cities and sidewalks with style and confidence; No longer rushing out to buy the latest must have item or hung up on what’s in or out but accepting of themselves to express their individual character and personality in what they wear, and how they wear it. Mixing colours; throwing a bright shawl over a jacket, sporting red shoes or wearing a hat that has seen sixty summers and still looks fabulous!

New York based photographer Ari Seth Cohen took his love for the older generation a leap further and in 2008 created his blog Advanced Style

With 10 million hits; films, a new book and counting, he is bringing his silver stylistas, to the forefront rather than keeping them out of sight, in a youth obsessed fashion culture that says we should all but disappear when we reach 60!

Listening to characters like Iris Apfel 91, Lynn Dell 79 and Ilona Royce Smithkin 93, It is easy to see why these Women have become role models not only for their generation but for generations to come. Reading the comments on his blog are a joy and emphasise the very important message of looking forward not backwards. I know I am!

It is time to stop letting the fashion industry intimidate us into feeling out of date; old or no longer visible but use it to empower and express who we are from the inside out, whatever our shape and whatever our age!

These Women, this photographer and his film go a long way to do just that.

For more, check out BBC 4 Woman’s hour (Play at 18 minutes 56 seconds for the Advanced Style story) and the BBC News Magazine

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