Photography by: Jessica Knai
"...And someday, you will ache like I ache"
Whether you like her or not, it's undeniable that Courtney Love had a heavy influence on fashion. Thanks to her, long gone are the days that babydoll dresses are for...well, babies. Now, they're for women too. Strong women, even. Women who are trailblazers, go-getters, and girly girls at heart.
I knew as soon as I saw this dress the exact story I wanted to tell with it. I didn't want to play into cliches, and have some frilly background full of bright whites and pastel flowers. At least, not right now. I didn't want a story that felt juvenile. I wanted something rough, edgy, and grunge. I wanted that vintage feel, as if these photos were from 1996 rather than 2016. So, I turned to a medium I had been dying to play with: film.
With that, I knew there was only one person who would make this vision come to life exactly the way I knew it could, and that was Jessica. We had become friends over Instagram over a year ago now, and had always talked about shooting, yet never set anything in place until now. If you follow her on Instagram (which you should, because her work is stunning), then you know exactly why I knew she'd be perfect for this. She is a brilliant photographer with a fantastic eye, and just excels with film work. I think the proof is in the pudding, as these photos are a true testament to her talents.
As we were planning the details of the shoot, she gave me a challenge: do the shoot without a scrap of makeup on. While I don't wear makeup on a day-to-day basis, shooting without makeup on was an uncharted territory for me. I'd never done a shoot without a full face of makeup on (highlighter, contour, the whole nine yards). But, I was excited to finally do something different and take that leap outside my comfort zone. Throughout the shoot, Jessica made me feel so comfortable that I didn't even think about my lack of makeup.
Not only did we go makeup-free for this shoot, but there's absolutely no photoshop and no filters on any of the photos. They're as raw and real as photos can get, which makes me love them even more. I'd even go as far as to say that this is my favorite set of photos I've ever had taken of me. Not just because they're gorgeous, but because of the message that ( I hope) they give. To better sum this up, I'll post a caption I wrote on Instagram last week down below:
No makeup, no filter, no photoshop. In a world where we've become accustomed to slapping a filter over everything- good and bad- there comes something so refreshing about this photo set. When we strip away all the excess, we find ourselves at our most vulnerable, which I think adds a certain depth that's unattainable by any other means. It adds a layer that says "hey, let's focus on what's real here", rather than focusing on a "made up" depiction of what's actually there. Of course, I love the glitz, I love the glam, I love the high fashion, but I also love that we live in a time where raw and real can be celebrated as much as dolled and glam.
I'm so excited to be sharing this collaboration with you all. Like I said earlier, it's probably my favorite photo set ever. If I could have Jessica shoot me in film every single day, I totally would. Because, at the end of the day, it's not just about the photos and how they look, but the story they tell. And that, I feel, it what truly makes photography a real artistic medium.
"I am doll parts, bad skin, doll heart
It stands for knife
For the rest of my life
Yeah, they really want you
They really want you, they really do
Yeah, they really want you
They really want you, but I do too
I want to be the girl with the most cake
He only loves those things
Because he loves to see them break
I fake it so real, I am beyond fake
And someday, you will ache like I ache"