Davines is a high-end Italian hair care company that was founded on the idea of creating sustainable beauty. The products that the company manufactures are all crafted with attention to and respect for the environment, are made with natural ingredients, and are carefully tested for their customers’ safety. In an attempt to shine more of a spotlight on sustainable beauty, Davines has launched “I Sustain Beauty,” a social campaign to find out how other people are sustaining beauty. The creative director at Davines recruited Italian portraiture photographer Francesco Ridolfi to shoot the portraits of three individuals who are sustaining beauty in their own way.
Davines chose to feature Mara Galeazzi, Aldo Signoretti, and Belgin Aksoy as the faces of their campaign. Mara Galeazzi is the former principal dancer of The Royal Ballet in London. Aldo Signoretti is one of the most famous Italian hairsylists for television and movies, known for his Oscar-nominated work in Moulin Rouge! and Apocalypto. Belgin Aksoy is the owner and director of luxury spas in Turkey and founder of Global Wellness Day. Davines asked Francesco to take portraits of these three stars in a simple and elegant black and white style.
They were looking for some black and white portraits in a “Richard Avedon” style, shot against a white background and without any kind of fancy props or other distracting elements. During the meeting, Jorge, Davines’ Creative Director, told me that they did extensive research to find the photographer who had the style they were looking for, and that when they came across my website they knew they had found the right person for the job.
The most difficult challenge that Francesco faced was coordinating the schedules of three very busy people, and trying to get them into the studio on the same day. They finally narrowed down a day and rented a studio in Milan for the shoot. Once in the studio, Francesco tried to relax the subjects through some light conversation.
In these cases when you are working with real people and not models, the challenge is to put the subject at ease and capture a natural and deep expression. We are generally a bit scared and embarrassed by the camera, so it’s always important to talk a bit with the person you are going to portray, trying to build a sort of empathic link and a sense of trust that allows the subject to open up.
Shooting in general is always a thrill for Francesco, but this shoot added a new dimension that he found especially interesting. During the shoot in Italy, Francesco was communicating via Skype with Jorge, the creative director, in New York. They were sharing Francesco’s computer screen and Jorge was providing live feedback on the images. Francesco really enjoyed the immediacy of feedback from the client, even though they were on the other side of the globe.
Davines and Jorge were very happy with Francesco’s work. The images have been used to promote the campaign on isustainbeauty.com and have been printed in trade magazines.
To view more of Francesco’s work, visit francescoridolfi.com.