“The Two Faces Of Camilla nr I-7”, photography by Mia Makila, 2017
I have had so much fun editing last week’s photo shoot with my friend Camilla. If you don’t count the photo shoot I did with my parents, this is the first real photo session since my projects with Domenique. I feel like I have found a voice in my photography – raw and naked, black and white and grainy. I am very inspired by Annie Leibovitz at the moment.
My idea for the photo project with Camilla was to show the beauty of a woman’s two faces – with and without make up. Why do we feel like we have to hide our natural beauty? I feel uncomfortable with showing my natural face in public. It’s kind of insane. I want to remove the shame of being natural and vulnerable without a warrior mask of make up and attitude. Camilla is a beautiful woman and her face is attractive and charming both with and without make up. As is mine I guess. I love how brave Camilla was for sharing her two faces with me like this. I still have issues with showing my face without make up – although I took a series of selfies without make up in 2014.
As I was shooting Camilla, I told her: “If I would describe you with one word it would be ‘heart’.” She almost got a tear in her eye and felt moved. That is when she just opened up her face to me and welcomed me in. It was a magical moment and you can see it in the pictures of her naked face without any make up. I also added hearts in some of the photos dedicated to Camilla’s big and generous heart.
As I was wrapping up the shoot, I felt closer to Camilla than I have done before, this is why I love to be a photographer. The camera is a love tool, bringing people closer together by sharing the beauty of real life and imagined worlds behind someone else’s eyes.
And the act of putting on make up – such an absurd ritual when you start to think about it.
What this photo project taught me is that beauty lives both in the raw and the delicate and they are precious and there is no need to feel shame or a want to hide it. And make up is a great way to express who we are – but it doesn’t define our beauty.
Today is my mom’s birthday and I surprised her with this portrait of her grandmother, Olga, that I made in PhotoShop, based on a cabinet card of her (probably from the first decade of the 20th century). My mom is currently making a genealogy project about Olga, who died when my mom was very young. I thought it would be nice if my mom was able to look Olga in the eyes, something that is absolutely impossible in most of the original photos of her. It was a big challenge to retouch and clean this portrait in order to highlight her kind and sweet features. I also had to remove that chair and create an arm from nothing. It was hard work but so much fun. I gave her a new stool to sit on and 11 pink stars in the background, counting all the siblings in her family, including herself. My mom was very moved and happy about her gift, it meant a lot to hear to have a more clear picture of her grandmother’s face.
My new painting is finished! I put a lot of work into it and I feel great. This piece is very personal and has a lot of emotions mixed into it.
Here is what the first draft looked like:
My core expression is always found in simplicity, clarity and in the raw, captured emotions i wish to express.