by Kimberly Taylor

Ben Fink Shapiro is a fashion and portrait photographer best known for his edgy fashion spreads, his unexpected play on portraiture and, of course, his dreamy nudes. I sat down with this 27-year-old Cincinnati native to find out what it’s like to work in a field where fantasy is created. He told me about a shoot where he had to rethink the relationship between beauty and styling. 

“I was photographing an aspiring young model/actress who was looking to take some sophisticated pictures to help her shed her innocent image.

The shoot went great, but as it turned out the makeup was overdone. The eyes were too smoky. The look was too severe. There is a fine line between using styling and cosmetics to bring out part of a subject’s underlying personality, versus totally inventing something from scratch. Dramatic makeup is an important tool in fashion photography, and can transform a model into an interesting work of art. In this situation, though, I felt like the makeup was taking away from this gorgeous girl’s appeal and natural beauty. When photographing portraits or nudes, I prefer a natural look.

As for my preferences in real life? I can definitely appreciate a woman who takes pride in her grooming and appearance, but bright red lipstick will always be perplexing to me.”

Photo credit: NYMag’s The Cut