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Photo Perspectives Of Beauty

Jan. 11, 2019
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This photo series touches on habitual beauty and self-care routines that are so important and unique to all of us. But this series also goes deeper into what actual “beauty” feels like. The words are paired with portraits I’ve shot over this past year of the interviewees— since photography has challenged me and opened me up creatively, it has allowed me to recognize beauty more around me and within me. Beauty has been addressed a lot recently, but this series is meant to connect the viewer with something more than traditional “beauty tips”. But this series is approachable and connects us all - through habits and how we see the world and how we want to be seen.
CHRISTY, 27 
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Beauty is anything that brings meaning to my life - sunlight through my window, laying in bed with my husband, a genuine smile from a stranger - anything that reminds me of how beautiful life is.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
When I feel beautiful, I feel confident. And that confidence pours out of me into my relationships. I’m a more positive, creative person when I feel beautiful.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
It’s easy for me to recognize beauty in others but difficult to see it in myself. But I’ve found that when I feel strong, I feel beautiful. So I challenge myself mentally & physically through yoga and roller derby.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I don’t wear much makeup. Mainly I just use high-quality skincare products. I absolutely love face toner. I also use serums and moisturize my face with oil every night. I try to eat lots of vegetables, stay hydrated, and I don’t drink/smoke. I need to work on getting more beauty sleep though.

WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Velvet.

J. VALENCIA, 29
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Being beautiful means you have insecurities but you’re not afraid or ashamed of them. Flaws are part of beauty not perfection. Beauty is effortless and comes from within.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Through my hairstyles! I like to be creative with my hair, trying different colors, updos and experimenting.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
In the morning, fresh out of bed, no make up, no lip gloss, a fresh washed face - I love my morning glow!
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I like to remove my makeup with coconut oil. Wash my face with organic black soap, and moisturize with aloe vera and vitamin e. And when I get breakouts, I don’t bother them, I’ll just use tea tree oil.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Authentic.

KATIE, 22
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Beauty to me is anything that takes my breath away. Maybe it’s the shape of someone’s jaw, or the afternoon light reflecting off the buildings- but it’s something that makes you stop and think.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Through modeling- specifically portrait photography where I can use emotion.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
No makeup, clear skin, and light shining on my face. I feel beautiful in vulnerable moments, like when I cry- because beauty is emotional and it’s real.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I eat lots of fruits and veggies, Wash my face each night, Avoid makeup whenever possible, And face masks a couple times a week.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Blissful.

ASHLEY, 24
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Beauty is based on how you treat others. I’ve always tried to be kind to everyone. Your personality can take a toll on your appearance and it just feels good to be nice!
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
I’ve never really thought of myself as beautiful because I’ve always had confidence issues. I just focus on being kind to people.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
I feel the most beautiful after I cry, when my eyes are all red and my face is swollen. It’s when I feel the most vulnerable. I’m a very emotional person and after I let all of that out I feel like a new person. Like I can start over.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I’m always trying different serums and moisturizers but the main steps are lots of water, hyaluronic acid and facial oils!
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Love.

DAVID, 27 
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Not being afraid to show your true self to others, regardless of what they may think. Being yourself is beautiful.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Sharing things with others that make you feel good - music, art, movies, hobbies, food, etc.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
When I’m able to express myself how I want and not being bothered with rules that limit individuality.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I don’t really do anything special, but I do wake up early every morning to give myself time to think and mentally prepare for the day.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Real.

SHELBY, 25
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Things aren’t always necessarily beautiful on their own, but it’s what we read into them. We fill them with our own perspectives and experiences and that’s what makes something beautiful.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
I think about how I want to make someone feel. I always come back to this quote: “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
When I find confidence within myself. When I feel listened to. When I live simply and slowly.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
Self-care and the many different forms that it can come in. The simplicity of a face mask + glass of wine or just taking moments to be intentional and redirect my mind in a positive direction.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Raw. 

CONSTANCE, 25
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
How you see and feel about yourself and this world.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
In how I treat others and how I carry myself.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
Fresh out of the shower! I will stay in there for as long as the water will have me. Once I’m done, I feel clean, pure, and unstoppable.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I moisturize from head to toe every day. My go-to beauty look lately is just clear mascara on my eyebrows and lashes, brown lip liner, chapstick, and a little highlighter.

AUBURN, 22
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
I notice myself and others seem their most beautiful when they are happy with themselves and the world around them. Being content and balanced with who you are and what you believe helps to show the world your true beauty.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Through humor- happiness is a beautiful (sometimes elusive) emotion, To make someone feel that or to feel it yourself is a beautiful thing.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
When I’m with people I care about who make me happy.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
One special thing I do for myself is coloring my hair and not shaving my legs.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?Effervescent.

LAUREN, 25
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
The truest form of beauty is love, kindness, selflessness, and truth. In an aesthetic sense, I think it’s the confidence in being your own unique person with all of your quirks.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Recently by embracing my femininity as a strength and not being ashamed of it.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
I find myself feeling most beautiful when my heart is at rest and not worrying about what others think of me or my appearance.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I struggled for years with acne. So clean, healthy skin is important to me. I wash my face every morning with raw African black soap and wear a tinted moisturizer with SPF daily. At night, I use an astringent followed by an AHA moisturizer. I use masks when I think about it and I’m getting better about exfoliating.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Kindness.

ELIZABETH, 25
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Beauty to me means.. letting yourself go.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Taking risks. Being vulnerable can be so worth it no matter what the outcome.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
After I go for a swim- I love the wet hair “textured” look and letting my freckles show!
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
Lots of skincare! I use all natural products. For my everyday makeup, I wear a dewy tinted moisturizer, a cat eye with brown liquid liner, cheek stain and then I throw on a sheer berry lip color.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Eloquent.

CAYCEGALE, 27
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
I think real beauty is a feeling you experience brought on by compassion and acceptance. The people who light us up inside are the ones we think of as truly beautiful.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Through the attention I give. I love to find small details of the people that I admire. I express my idea of ‘beauty’ in the acute insignificancies.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
On a day when I was completely alone without anyone I knew for thousands of miles, I realized that I was the only person who would ever truly know and love me. I felt completely alive and the most beautiful I’ve ever felt in that moment.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I try to sleep a lot, but I also moisturize the fuck out of my face. I’ve started using serums too!
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Komorebi (light filtered through the trees).

MACIE, 22
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Someone who is unafraid to be his/herself. I know a lot of people that are not conventionally beautiful but it doesn’t matter because what shines through is their comfortability in their own skin.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Through humor, through being honest. I’ve always thought these characteristics were more important than looking a certain way.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
When I am able to really lose myself in the moment and enjoy the company of the people I am with. I feel most beautiful when I’m not wondering if I am beautiful, when I’m unaware of my body completely.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I think general health is the most important determinant of beauty. My diet is mostly vegan and I drink a ton of water everyday. Yoga and daily meditation has been incredible for me. I also stick to hypoallergenic, environmental friendly products typically. 

MIKALYN, 26
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
In a way it’s a state of being. You can move in and out of it. Being sacrificial, showing kindness to others even when it’s not convenient, to me, is beauty. Most people have beauty in them. Sometimes people are hardened or hurt and it’s not as easy to see their beauty.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Whatever gets me to think a little less of myself and more of others. I think being in sync with who I am and feeling grounded can help me show beauty to others.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
When I feel like I'm giving the world my genuine self. This is a challenge for me because I’m extremely hard on myself and insecure in what I have to offer, but I’m working on this.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I give myself a time in the morning to have breakfast and relax before starting my day. This has been a huge stress relief and helps me to feel my best. But I’m all about treating myself with a face mask at the end of the day.

KENNEDY, 18
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
It’s a reflection of how in tune you are with your self. True beauty is having enough self confidence to love yourself and also give love and confidence to others around you.
HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR BEAUTY?
Through how I carry myself and how I treat others. I want everyone to have a love for themselves, flaws and all.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
When I’m happy and surrounded by positivity. Having the ability to be who I am and be loved is something that makes me feel beautiful.
WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN?
I tend to go about my days acknowledging that no matter what flaw is bothering me, no matter how upset I am about my skin or how I look in an outfit or even just my mentality, I am still perfectly imperfect.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORD YOU CAN THINK OF?
Humbled.
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Photography by Christy Flaherty @xinelaine 
Auburn Harkenrider @deadlythekid
Ashley Ellefson @ladypickle__

Caycegale Cooter @cacoots
Constance Noble @constantleo_
David Nelson @fullnelson09
Elizabeth Pearson @littyzee

J. Valencia @hair.industry.jvalencia 
Katie Olsen @katiesolsen
Kennedy Williams @kennedy__williams
Lauren Smartt @la.smartt
Macie Rush @macierush
Mikalyn Rush @miklaynrush
Shelby Sheppard @shelbyann.photo