Say hello to Lee and Zuzanna:
Lee, your passion for hair and makeup stemmed from your background in dance – tell us more about that transition.
L.G. – I started dancing when I was three years old, and I fell in love with becoming a character through hair and makeup. When I was 16, I started assisting a makeup artist and did lots of theatre productions. I then did lots of weddings and special events through a salon. I got my cosmetology license in 2016 at the age of 18. Now, I specialize in beauty makeup for print, film/television, and runway. Makeup is my passion, and I can’t live without it.
Zuzanna, your passion for photography brought you from Poland to California. What sparked your interest in photography and what prompted you to move all the way to California?
Z.G. – It all started when I was in my early teens and my parents bought me a little camera for my birthday. I carried it with me everywhere, shooting everything. When I finished high school, I decided to try and turn my little hobby into an actual profession. Driven by the need of change of environment and a better chance for achieving my goal, I landed in California.
Tell us about your photographic obsession with extraordinary mediocrity.
Z.G. – The point is to never underestimate your surroundings. There is never nothing going on, there is never nothing ordinary. Sometimes, all you need is a different perspective. I saw my bathroom mirror everyday in the same way, but one day, I walked in and I noticed the light coming thru the blinders that created stripes covering my body. I instantly grabbed my camera and created a self-portrait that is now one of my favorite images of all (and it’s also a dope iPhone wallpaper). 😉
How would you describe your visual style?
Z.G. – Moody, dark, and contrasty.
Lee, what types of makeup artistry do you do?
L.G. – I started in beauty makeup, now I also do special FX makeup, and I can create my own prosthetics in a lab. My passion is to make women beautiful, so my favorite is beauty makeup for print and runway.
What makeup products do you always carry in your bag?
L.G. – I always have Tarte lights, camera, lashes, mascara, my RCMA foundation palette, and my Hoola bronzer, because it looks good on everyone!
What types of photography do you do?
Z.G. – Portrait was always my thing – I love working with different people, reading them through my camera, and creating their reflection. I also find love in fashion, editorial, and weddings (because what are weddings if not portrait and fashion in one)! 🙂
What simple hair and makeup tips would you offer a model on a shoot who has to manage her own look?
L.G. – I would suggest always powdering your T zone with a translucent powder, because no one wants to look shiny! Also, you lose 25% of your makeup on camera, so keep that in mind when you’re doing your own makeup. I would suggest investing in the TIGI bed head stick to keep fly aways and baby hairs down!
Zuzanna, how do you express yourself through your photography?
Z.G. – My mood has a heavy influence on my private work. I’m pretty sure it’s easy to say when I was in a negative state of mind, positive or melancholic by looking at specific images.
You recently collaborated with each other – what was the concept for the shoot?
L.G. – Zuzanna, first of all, is an amazing, sweet person, and she had a vision for the way she wanted the makeup. We wanted to do a smoky eye and natural lip for the first look, and then a glitter explosion on the eyes and dark lip for the second look, since it was just New Year’s. The second look was definitely my favorite because I got to be creative, and who doesn’t love playing with glitter?!
Z.G. – I asked Lee to join me on the shoot with my sister as my muse and model. It was an entirely personal project. I wanted for my sister to have fun in the studio and have some quality images of herself.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career thus far?
L.G. – My career has been filled with everything under the sun. But I have to admit, sometimes there are dry patches and it’s hard to get work. I’ve spent days answering ads and reaching out to people and still not get work. It’s hard when you love what you do and you want to do it every day, but you can’t because you have to wait for someone to want you. Just keep at it and don’t give up because it gets better.
Z.G. – Lack of networking. It’s hard to start a new thing in a new country, with a new culture and language. I’m trying to spread my “photo web” further and further, but I can definitely see the disadvantage of being an outsider.
What qualities do you look for when selecting a creative team to collaborate with?
Z.G. – The list is long, but skills and reliability are the most important factors.
Do you prefer shoots where you have a full creative team?
Z.G. – I looooove shoots like this. When you have a whole team working with you, all the aspects of your image are going to look incomparably stronger than during your solo-shooting. When I’m on my own, I often omit little stuff, being too focused on the composition, lighting and my exposure, and then I pay for it during editing hours.
Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
L.G. – I want to be published in big magazines and be sought out all over LA and not have to constantly find jobs everyday. I want to be financially ready to move on with my personal life and my dreams.
Z.G. – Shooting. Hopefully shooting more, in more places and with more people.
For anyone who wants to get in touch with Zuzanna, here’s some contact information:
For anyone who wants to get in touch with Lee, here’s some contact information:
Lee and Zuzanna, thank you for sharing your stories and the beautiful results from your collaboration! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!