Photography is often regarded as a solitary pursuit. Picture it: the artist engaged in long, contemplative hours, alone scouting locations and spending all day dedicated to a shoot. But photography isn’t inherently a single-player game — some people quite value its moments of solitude, but plenty of genres need teamwork to make the dream work. In the end, it comes down to the connection between you, your audience, and your photo. But the more elements you incorporate, the more help and skill sets you need to pull it off.
Emily Lopez probably understands this fact better than most. Based out of Miami, Lopez was a crucial behind the scenes player when she started: the on set makeup artist. She dabbled in television and had her own clients she’d snap a picture of (her signature “clean and natural” look added glamor to an otherwise everyday face), but really got to show off her chops during photo shoots. Here she was allowed to let loose with accent colors and bold lines, turning the look more into conceptual art.
Her work with makeup became integral to the piece, a true collaboration with model and photographer, and Lopez knew it. By 2017 she had decided to make the jump into photography earnestly and hasn’t looked back. She still works with other photographers, of course, but now she’s her own hair and makeup artist and creative director, all in one.
She’s always gravitated towards the feminine and the sexy, and the work she creates today is unrepentantly so. There’s plenty of lingerie on display, and shots in the fashion editorial style. As you’d expect, much of Lopez’s work focuses on her models’ faces, and they gaze fiercely into the camera like bust sculptures. Their makeup and styling communicate a singular vision. Sometimes it’s a simple one…a classic dewey, doe-eyed look from straight on, or bright, glittering eye shadow with a dramatic black wing. Sometimes it gets a bit more layered, coordinating accessories and aesthetic to pull a very strong mood out of thin air. Other times the makeup is completely avant-garde and the photo need only showcase it clearly.
This past year her photography has expanded to include boudoir type shoots, with a greater focus on complexity, sensuality, and theatricality. The results are some of her most compelling photography to date, although it’s certainly a departure from previous work.
She plays with angles and the idea of bodies as form — yet still sultry ones. The lighting and scenes have become intensely dramatic. Frames still pull in tight, but now it’s to act as blinders for the audience, directing us to exactly what she wants us to see. If we consider bodies as form here, Lopez limiting what we can see all at once further abstracts them, adding to the conceptual nature of these pieces. She pairs limited views with some of her first full body shots, as well, which provides a nice contrast between the big, wide open compositions and the more intimate, concentrated ones.
Lopez has crossed two thresholds now: doing her own photography, and finding a new unique approach to her own photography. No doubt she will continue to expand her capabilities to match her well honed makeup artistry. The two might supplement and complement each other, but it’s clear that she wants to push her photography a little further in pursuit of glam. And ain’t nothing wrong with making the world a little more glamorous each day.
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