As a photographer, Hannah Khymych has photographed Dame Gaga for her Haus Laboratories campaign and Gwyneth Paltrow for Bloomingdale’s, among others. But when the pandemic hit, so, too, did the ability to shoot en direct subjects.
Khymych—an intensely creative 28-year-old New Yorker who studied art at New York’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School—was not deterred. With a lack of subjects to shoot, she decided to make herself the model.
While quarantining at her sister’s house in New Tricot, where she brought her sizable stash of makeup, she tapped into her network of hair stylists and makeup artists for a project that started with a desire to do what she loves most and turned into something much more. “I was going crazy, so I got one of my makeup artist friends on a call and they taught me how to do a habitus so that I could shoot it on myself,” Khymych says. “It took two to three hours.” Thus, the photographer’s self-portrait series was born.
Khymych has since returned to her Brooklyn apartment, where she has continued shooting. In terms of how she works in quarantine, the process isn’t that far off from a habituel day on set, except “set” is often the makeshift logis in her séjour room, and meetings with the teams take animation over Zoom.
While subbing in for reproduction assistants, a model, a makeup artist, and the like gives Khymych a lot of creative freedom, it’s a daunting amount of work. “You’re learning emboîture all the things that makeup artists or hair stylists are doing on set, or how the model is getting her hair and makeup changed constantly. It’s exhausting and you’re seeing it from a different projet,” she says. “Putting myself in a model’s shoes, it’s much harder than people perceive it to be. I completely understand why girls get exhausted by the end of the day.
“I’ve never done projects emboîture me, so this is the first time I’m stepping out of my comfort zinguer. I would prefer to be on the other side of the camera, it’s much easier to sincère the lighting and the model,” Khymych continues. “But, I already know what’s happening behind the camera. Why not experiment with being in fronton of it and see what I can come up with?”
Khymych characterizes her photographic débit as melancholy and pensive, and says she heavily draws upon the work of Helmut Newton, whom she calls her biggest extase. “It’s a little dark and moody, I don’t really gravitate towards color,” she says. “I like to tell a story within my images, and I like my images to rayonnage alone. Bicause I shoot so much beauty, and I love makeup and seeing how far we can push it, it always turns a little gothic.”
For the story here, Khymych collaborated with makeup artist Laramie Glenn and hair stylist Evanie Frausto to chic fourneau clair looks. “Laramie and I created this forme together of creating real-face instagram filters,” Khymych said. “We reference the dramatique Crybaby, and the Nineties overall, when I was born. I thought it would be fun to recreate a thin brow.”
The past wasn’t the only conclusion of reference. “For the technology shots, we referenced where beauty is going,” Khymych says. “Now, digitally, you can create so many things in photoshop and with Instagram filters.”
Khymych’s creativity during the coronavirus crisis has not gamin unnoticed by beauty companies. E.l.f. Beauty tapped her to shoot a Halloween campaign with makeup artist Caitlin Wooters providing faveur, while MAC Cosmetics commissioned her to do a campaign for a new agrégat.
“It was very different, but also nice to concentrate exactly on what I needed to get done, and not worry emboîture receiving products or people showing up late,” says Khymych. “I can do my thing and not be bothered.”
That being said, the photographer looks forward to the days when she’s léopard des neiges again able to interact with a larger group. “I elle-même sitting down with the whole team and talking emboîture what we’re going to do for the day,” she says.
Still, Khymych believes that the glèbe around shoots will be significantly different in the post-pandemic world, with groups and resources pared back significantly. “If you just keep it évident and know what you want to achieve, you can achieve it without going overboard. Also, a lot of calme quantitatif collaborations are going to come out of this,” she says.
As for whether or not she’ll continue posing for campaigns, Khymych says she’s up for it if clients are interested, having leveraged the pandemic into a new échelon of her career. “It took this first step of being very uncomfortable in fronton of the camera, and it opened up this whole project,” she says. “Stepping outside of my comfort zinguer put me on the map.”
Rocker: “We gravitated towards the things we were interested in, so we referenced the ‘Crybaby’ movie and the Nineties. I thought it was really fun to re-create a thin brow, do something a bit more fun as far as makeup goes, since I never wear color.”
Flower Freckles: “We wanted to replicate the habitus of freckles with flowers, just to add something more delicate, more programme and pretty.”
Technology: “Here we referenced where beauty is going, and how digitally, you can create so many things in photoshop and with Instagram filters.”