Chi Aguwa: Lipstick Series

photocrati gallery


Photography and Text by Chi Aguwa, Copyright 2016



My inspiration for this series of pictures  was to depict beautiful women of color, while wearing various shades of lipstick.  The first thought that came to mind when I was given the assignment was what could I do to make my headshots unique from everyone else’s, seeing as I seemed to have the least amount of photo experience in the class. I wanted these photos to stand out more for aesthetics and vision; rather than the action of taking the picture. I also tried to adopt techniques that I learned from my days as a model to create interesting angles and viewpoints for these headshots. While I was taking the pictures, I found myself naturally directing the models through demonstration, and I created a scenario in which the subjects were able  to place themselves to attain a certain look. One of these scenarios was to imagine oneself fighting to get through a jungle full of trees while taking a beauty shot with your hair tangled in the branches above. At times, I would even push my models to shift their body weight or even sit on the floor. I wanted to show that a beauty shot does not need to be the typical straight on “smizing” shot as Tyra Banks used to say.

I originally intended to utilize a ring flash to get tighter images of each models face. The equipment that I intended to use from the universities equipment room was not available on shooting day.  So I was forced to make do with tungsten lights, but I found that the images came out dark; without a tripod all of my images would be underexposed because of a very slow shutter speed. I added flash to these pictures and this was  where the magic began to take place. After editing the photos, I really like how the series turned out. I will continue editing the rest of the pictures, as I found that editing in  photoshop takes a significant amount of time just to edit one picture. Hopefully, I was able to make my vision come to life in order to illustrate that no one can truly wear the brightest, and boldest shades of lipstick like a woman of color.


Portrait of Chi Aguwa Upenn Student
Chi Aguwa

About The Author: Chi Aguwa is a junior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018.

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