Earlier this month I coincided a trip to Amsterdam with a photoshoot with Harleem based and award winning photographer, Elisabeth Van Aalderen who is currently working on a project that aims to closely capture the beauty of Vitiligo.
It was Living Dappled – a lifestyle blog aimed at women and girls with Vitiligo, that first brought Elisabeth’s work to my attention and given I was planning a weekend break in the City known for its beautiful canals, bike riders and some other stuff I don’t need to mention (!), I was keen to get in contact to see if I could take part. Within a few days, i’d arranged a time to meet Elisabeth to take part in my first shoot outside of the UK.
As Elisabeth’s first model to be photographed with Vitiligo, I was somewhat nervous but also excited about being photographed outside the ‘comfort of London’. I’d seen some of Elisabeth’s previous work on her website (www.elisabethva.com) and instantly felt drawn to her style of photography which focused on strong, feminine, natural images under the fashion photography umbrella.
When I arrived at the studio in Javastraat, East of Amsterdam on a pretty wet and miserable day, I Instantly loved the feel of the studio. The natural light, high ceilings and the open space gave me a really nice feeling! For the first 30 minutes over a few cups of coffee, we chatted about the shoot, our own journey’s with Vitiligo and also the mood board’s she’d created, which helped me visualise exactly what type of look Elisabeth was trying to achieve through her photography. I was of course curious as to why she had chosen to focus on Vitiligo, but when noticed we both shared something in common, I understood why ‘I wanted to focus on something that was more personal to me, especially given I too, have the condition’.
In terms of style, the look was going to be very simple. A mixture of feminine underwear pieces by Swedish brand Monki, cream ribbed bodysuits and oversized ‘boyfriend’ shirts that would create a relaxed look once dressed. Makeup artist, Xiu Yun Yu arrived a short while later ready to transform to give me a fresh glow before being photographed. Xiu Yun Yu used very natural tones with subtle eyeshadow colours, a dusting of pink blusher on my cheeks and a nice layer of my current makeup must-have; a glowy highlighter that had my cheekbones popping!
Face nicely prepped, I changed into a flattering two piece matching set – the organic cotton triangle bra and matching high waisted ribbed briefs that completed my feminine look and had me ready to start creating images at the hands of Elisabeth’s incredible photography skills.
I loved every second of the shoot as we created a mixture of close-ups, portraits and full body shots that really honed in on the contrast of my skin. After I had left the studio (the weather still pretty miserable!), I felt empowered by my own ability to show my skin and loved that i’d once again, had pushed a boundary….