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Over the past four Fashion Week seasons, photographer Malorie Shmyr has documented the work of renowned make-up artist Val Garland, capturing her creative process backstage at each show. Focusing on the tiny hair and make-up details which could easily be overlooked in the pre-show frenzy, Shmyr uses a macro lens to showcase the artistry of each look in exquisite detail. Below, we speak to the Canadian photographer about her experience of shooting hair backstage, and take a look at some of her recent shots.

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Gareth Pugh, SS19, Hair by Syd Hayes, Make-up by Val Garland
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Vivienne Westwood, SS18, Hair by Sam McKnight, Make-up by Val Garland

How would you define your photography style? I love shooting macro and I’m all about colour! Shooting with a macro lens allows me to capture the intricacies that an artist creates with hair or make-up. I get so engulfed in the macro world that I often have to remind myself to step back and get more of the subject. I rarely stay in the same spot when shooting – I’m constantly searching for an unpredictable vantage point through my lens. On my own photoshoots, subject matter that is outlandish or has unexpected combinations is when my heart feels happiest.

What’s your favourite subject to shoot? I get ‘excitement butterflies’ when I see something outlandishly colourful in front of me. I love it when people push the boundaries with make-up and hair looks, so if the look is out of ‘the norm’ I get super excited.

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Giambattista Valli, SS19, Hair by Paul Hanlon
“Shooting with a macro lens allows me to capture the intricacies that an artist creates with hair or make-up”
Malorie Shmyr
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Giambattista Valli, SS19, Hair by Paul Hanlon
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Gareth Pugh, SS19, Hair by Syd Hayes, Make-up by Val Garland
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Gareth Pugh, SS19, Hair by Syd Hayes, Make-up by Val Garland

What is your approach to shooting hair backstage? I tend to ask myself questions constantly… not in a self doubting way, but so I can push myself to try to take the best photo I can. I’ll ask myself, ‘what is the most special part of this hairstyle?’ and then keep that as my focus.

I’ll ask more questions – ‘how can the background colour and shapes frame the hair the best? From what perspective can I look at the hair, that the viewer watching this show online or in the audience wouldn’t have the opportunity view it from? Am I honouring the texture or silhouette of this hair?’

What is your favourite type of hair look to shoot? My favourite is when the hair is interacting with the face and make-up in some way. I love how a hair look can extend the lines of make-up (or visa-versa), or even stick to the make-up. I get so excited when the hair creates beautiful negative spaces of skin on the face, or obscures the face so much that it creates a curtain of mystery.

In your opinion, what makes for a ‘good’ hair image? If the texture and/or the silhouette is honoured, then I think it’s a super good image.

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Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, SS19, Hair by Eugene Souleiman, Make-up by Val Garland
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Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, SS19, Hair by Eugene Souleiman, Make-up by Val Garland
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Gareth Pugh, SS19, Hair by Syd Hayes, Make-up by Val Garland
Credits

Photography Malorie Shmyr Website malorieshmyr.com
Hair Paul Hanlon, Syd Hayes, Sam McKnight, Eugene Souleiman
Interview Emma de Clercq 

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