Would you let your four-year-old daughter do your makeup? That’s exactly what photographer Elly Heise asked a group of brave moms for her project #DaughterDoesMakeup. The series was inspired by Heise’s desire to see beauty as she did when she was a child, free of self-consciousness and full of creativity.
As expected, the results were a bit messy, but the images also served to start a conversation about the way women think of beauty. “It made me question the true definition of beauty and how subjective it really is,” said Elly.
Since sharing her images with the world, Elly told WYSK, “The feedback has been both overwhelming and wonderful at the same time. I was hoping this would reach out and inspire as many people as possible, so seeing that dream become a reality is amazing.”
Elly talks more about the genesis and results of #DaughterDoesMakeup in her artist statement:
I wanted to make a photographic series that communicates a fresh perspective on beauty by photographing mothers after their young daughters had done their makeup. I chose girls from a younger age range to come into the studio with their mothers and gave them total freedom to choose how they wanted to paint their mothers’ faces.
One thing I noticed about the girls that came in is that they were the happiest with the messiest elements of their work. It made me question the true definition of beauty and how subjective it really is. That is why this project is geared towards any person that feels the need to create their identity based on imposed ideas. I want this to affect people that feel pressured to present themselves in a certain way, in particular women who are conditioned at a young age to spend their lives endlessly trying to meet impossibly idealized standards of beauty.
I also hope this project will appeal to people that are interested in social inquiry and how it can influence our assertion of what is beautiful and what isn’t. The references in the title #Daughterdoesmymakeup allude to hash tag culture, which indirectly critiques the idealized online portraiture currently in global circulation. I want this to inspire people to re-question their own definition of beauty in the same way it did for me, and to re-consider what we are really raising our younger generations to believe in.