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Trip the Lights Fantastic: Photographer Laurence Laborie on Working with Light (2/2)

Over time, renowned fashion and beauty photographer Laurence Laborie has developed a fragile yet sensual aesthetic in which light takes center stage. In this second part of a two-part interview with Laurence, we ask her about her technique and what light represents for her in her work.

Trip the Lights Fantastic: Photographer Laurence Laborie on Working with Light (2/2)

I love using false lashes — they’re reminiscent of butterflies, which I find extremely touching.

Trip the Lights Fantastic: Photographer Laurence Laborie on Working with Light (2/2)

Over time, renowned fashion and beauty photographer Laurence Laborie has developed a fragile yet sensual aesthetic in which light takes center stage. In this second part of a two-part interview with Laurence, we ask her about her technique and what light represents for her in her work.

Make up for ever: in looking at some of your work, we see you use shadow as much as light. what do light and dark each convey in your photos and how do you juxtapose them to achieve your objective?

Laurence Laborie: Yes, I love using dark tones and shadows to play against the light in my photographs. I feel that juxtaposition lends a certain air of mystery, which I think is important to have, especially in beauty photos. Looking through the shadows to what lies beneath is the real appeal of a beauty photo.


Make up for ever: is there such a thing as bad lighting?

Laurence Laborie: I don’t think so. Sure, there are lighting conditions that are less than optimal, but I really think it’s a question of using the elements you have to their best effect. That’s why I like to play as much with shadows as light — you can transform a photograph from something really flat to something extraordinary through the texture that light and dark afford you.


Make up for ever: how do you incorporate makeup into a photograph? how do you give the make-up its own personality using light?

Laurence Laborie: I love using false lashes — they’re reminiscent of butterflies, which I find extremely touching. I often like to shoot my models with their eyes closed or winking, as the shadows cast by the lashes are really striking. If I’m concentrating on complexion, I use softer light or a light with a brighter reflection to make the skin appear luminous. Harsh light and shadows always work well as they impart structure to the image, but they’re not always what’s best for the overall feeling I want the photo to give.

Make up for ever: how can a woman use natural light to her advantage when applying makeup? how can she play up her features using shadow and highlighting?

Laurence Laborie: It may seem obvious, but when applying makeup, what is important is to consider what light your makeup will be seen in. Will it be daylight? Candlelight? The bright white lights of the office? Ideally, we’d all have a variety of spotlights in our bathroom to pick and choose from when applying our makeup! Of course that’s not possible, so I suggest making sure that whatever the source of light, it’s a good one. Sit near the window, try to find the brightest, whitest natural light possible, or use a bright white light directed squarely at your forehead — if the light source is too weak, we have a tendency to overcompensate with heavier makeup, which then ends up looking overdone once out in brighter lighting conditions.

Make up for ever: how do you use light to convey what you want in your work? what does light communicate in your photographs?

Laurence Laborie: First and foremost, the light I select for a photograph must capture not only the beauty of the subject but also an emotion. And beauty shots can appear very plastic, static. I try to transmit emotion through movement and light — something that is generally unexpected in beauty photography. I adapt to a face, a complexion to transform reality. In fact, the eye corrects what we see, so I like to exploit the fact that light in photography does not correct, it transforms. I’ve used lots of different kinds of light and I’m always experimenting. I’m always asking the question “what works — and why does it work?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Tags:
  • Light,
  • Beauty photography,
  • Fashion photography,
  • Makeup,
  • Backstage