My name is Steve Osemwenkhae and I created this series to not only showcase natural beauty, through mediums that included photos and videos, but to also tell the stories surrounding makeup. Photography has been a passion of mine since I can remember; creating stories and highlighting subjects that allows the audience to start a conversation through photos.
I started this passion for photography at an early age but transformed it into a skill set around 2001. I have had the wonderful opportunity to shoot for local magazines within Boston, weddings, events, as well as concerts. I have worked with amazing talent such as Jasmine Solano, Lisa Bello, Louie Bello, local Boston designers and various actors/actresses all over the US and beyond. My photography is really about giving everyone something to think about in terms of art as well as providing imagery that only I can capture.
This series started five years ago with five individuals that were weary about the idea of going makeup free but they trusted my vision and end goal. Fast forward to the present, I have been able to photograph over one hundred women and continuing. Diverse women from all different backgrounds, states, and occupations have taken part.
The idea came to me on the MBTA's commuter rail one morning. A woman was tussling through her bag as I was trying to get a quick nap. With all the commotion, I looked up and saw she was applying makeup. I couldn't understand it as it is something I am not familiar with. As she layered her face with lotion and foundation, I started to think about a makeup less photo session and how to showcase natural beauty. At that moment is when I decided to take on the project with a few friends which has exploded to over hundred women taking part.
Another part of this project was for me and the women themselves to understand the complicated relationship with makeup and ultimately, social pressures, gender and concepts of beauty. I want everyone to have their own voice when it comes to the narrative of beauty and hopefully I can continue to do that within the next few years with these photos and videos.
Photography is not only a passion for me but a instrument that can be used and utilized for social change.