I can’t say my love of photography started by looking at one photo. It progressed over time. In sixth grade, I was into elaborate photo edits where multiple photos are layered together by the artist and an alternate reality seemed to come to life. These edits were in no way simple or subtle; they were the exact opposite, yet they were aesthetic in their own ways.
This creative outflow inspired me to forge my own projects, so I started taking photos and editing on my phone and my passion for photography spiraled from there. As I continued to capture photos over the next couple of years, my preferences changed greatly.
I started with highly filtered versions of posed photos on the automatic setting of a camera. One of my first models was Daphneé Brown. She helped make my style more unique with her natural mode as I waned from heavy edits to a more effortless way of capturing images. Her natural beauty stunned me and layering edits over her already flawless face felt wrong. So, my style started to shift to something that would better illustrate the girl I saw in real life.
This new look inspired me to search for artists who had already mastered this style. I had followed a multitude of edit accounts on Instagram that provided me with inspiration, but as I transitioned between these two distinct designs, I found myself on the hunt for new pages to keep track of and find inspiration from.
I began looking at Instagram pages that utilized this new design, each with their unique approach, and I started to build mine, pulling techniques and styles from those various photographers. Across the board, I saw one photo again and again. This photo would be what photographers refer to as the “milk bath,” a technique where one pours milk into a bathtub and mixes it with the water. This mixing creates a cloudy effect in the water that creates an interesting background in ones photos. Models placed in the mixed water are then photographed. These photos are nearly effortless, as not as much editing is involved in comparison to the heavy edits I have previously been creating, and definitely highlight the unobtrusive beauty of the model.
This minimalistic allure is why I decided to create my own version of the “milk bath.” I used the same technique and asked Brown if she would again model for me. Once she agreed my only request was that she wear light makeup. The editing process was uncomplicated; I color corrected her surroundings and highlighted her natural beauty. I let the natural lighting in the photo accentuate her features.
I am sure there is a counter argument that says this is nowhere near easy; however, I would disagree. Anything can be complicated if one just looks a little further. Such as flowers growing in a field, they are simple, subtle and beautiful, yet they also aren’t. Flowers require water, sunshine and weeks to grow into the blooming bud we see.
This is the same for the many things we see in our day to day lives. Even the most straightforward parts of one’s day may be more complicated when looked into further. With this in mind I walked away from the shoot with the mind to look deeper into the routine parts of my day and find the beauty in the effortless appearance of these things.
What simple beauties exist in your life? Let us know in the comments below.