If you missed The Making of Natural Beauty web series, we have merged all 12 episodes in to one edited version. Check it out on The Houston Effect YouTube channel. If you love it, share it! Your support will help bring awareness to the environment, and raise funds for environmental nonprofit, Global Green USA.
Reward yourself when you reach a goal and enjoy it
Now that I’ve finished the Natural Beauty project I realise just how overwhelmed I’ve been for the last few months trying to keep on top of everything in the lead up to the launch.
I have an image of Lucille Ball in that famous scene. She is working at the chocolate factory and can’t keep up with the chocolates coming down the conveyor belt. That’s exactly how I felt in the final stages of the project. Even with all the support I had around me, I felt I was unable to keep up with the pace at which everything was moving. I was also travelling to Los Angeles and Paris during that time for work. I was so relieved when it was finished and launched.
With any project or goal you have in life it’s important to keep moving forward. Don’t let set backs or changes shift your vision of the result. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, things will slip through the cracks and things will sometimes get out of your control. If you focus only on those negatives it can really dampen your experience.
Any result you achieve is a success. Whether you have met a great partner in your life, lost some weight or finished the first chapter of your new book; reward and acknowledge yourself, no matter how big or small the achievement is. It is through the celebration, gratitude and pride in yourself that you move closer to attracting more great stuff in your life. It’s not all about the end result. After all, the journey is where you need to connect to feeling good.
A week after the launch of Natural Beauty I sat down and looked through the book. I spent quite a bit of time looking at each page, enjoying the beautiful body of work that I had put together. Sure, I managed to get moments through the final launch process where I looked around me and took it all in. But I had so many other things I was trying to remember and think about that I got a little overwhelmed in the process.
I hope all of you who got a chance to watch The Making of Natural Beauty web series enjoyed the journey with me. Thank you for all your support. I hope the project offered some inspiration, and connected you to the beauty of nature that I originally set out to celebrate.
The main idea behind the Natural Beauty project is to connect people with nature in a way that is not obvious; like photographing Karlie Kloss – Victoria’s Secret Angel and currently one of the top models in the world – in a necklace made of red sea algae!
In Episode 12 of the ‘The Making of Natural Beauty’ web series, also the final episode, an epic journey comes to end. I spent over 10 months of photographing some of the world’s top models and celebrities to bring awareness to environmental issues and rally support for Global Green USA.
Karlie was scheduled to be the final shoot for the project. But when gorgeous Aussie models and sisters, Jess and Ashley Hart, happened to arrive in NYC at the same time, it was an opportunity I had to jump on. They have such a beautiful and fun Aussie spirit which just shines through; and to photograph them together was something that hadn’t yet been done before in this way. Take a look at the results!
Arizona’s slot canyons have always been one of my dream locations to photograph since I first saw them over 15 years ago. They are a maze of narrow, deep canyons formed by water wearing away the rock over time. The shapes, textures and colors of this sacred Navajo territory create an almost surreal, fantasy landscape. When you go deep inside the canyon, the light is so incredible and the intense red and orange colors take your breath away. Despite the massive groups of tourists that kept coming through, there is such an eerie sense of calm and silence which surrounds you. It’s like a stone cathedral.
Have you ever seen a picture of an exploding pollen tree? It’s a dramatic visual and the inspiration behind this amazing series of shots with Coco Rocha for Natural Beauty.
It was so exciting for me to work with Coco as she just gives you everything. There’s also nothing more exciting for me as a photographer than to be able to work with someone who can really move. We covered her (and the entire studio) with explosions of colourful powder. The powders are actually the same as those used in India during the Hindu Holi festival to celebrate the colors of Spring. As she moved her body, the powder moved with her allowing me to capture that sense of drama and real-time motion.
These days, just shooting celebrities for a project doesn’t have enough cut through. You have to do something different, so the message is unique, authentic and creative. I approached Adrian Grenier to be part of the Natural Beauty project not only due to his profile and active environmental advocacy, but also his willingness to do what it takes. I photographed him fully clothed in a plastic pool filled with water. The results are surreal.
Watch Episode 9 of ‘The Making of Natural Beauty’ and go behind-the scenes of the shoot.
He really “got” what I was trying to do through this project, as you will see in the interview. As he says, is all about getting people to “rethink how we see the world… by seeing the world through a beautiful lens and appreciating it so that we might instinctively want to protect it.”
4, 3, 2, 1…zero! That’s the amount of hours I ended up securing with Leonardo DiCaprio to photograph him for Natural Beauty! I have been living out my dream to work with such incredible models and celebrities but at the same time it can be so frustrating. You need celebrities to bring attention to a cause. I had been chasing Leo for about 9 months, and finally he was in NYC at the time we were shooting and I couldn’t even secure him for 15 mins.
While that was disappointing, on the flip side I have people like Sean O’Pry – currently the No.1 male model in the world – whose passion for the cause is what this project is all about. He has such an incredibly iconic face I had been wanting to work with him since I first saw him.
Come behind the scenes of my shoot with him in Episode 8 – ‘The Making of Natural Beauty’. Now live. My collaboration with makeup artist Karim Rahman (Episode 7) really reinvented the idea of what constitutes natural beauty. But here I return to more traditional ideas and focus on the skin and pure form of the body with high profile models Arlenis Sosa (Lancome Spokesmodel) and Lais Ribeiro (Victoria’s Secret).