BTF Collective

Chantel Philip

Creating “Golden”


It was just after photographing my first Men’s Fashion Week ever, that I realized how masculinity is forever evolving. From the outfits the upcoming designer created for this couture line to the way the models used their bodies to create beauty with these fashions. I was in awe. I was invited by my good friend, a stylist I usually work with, who thought I would be interested in attending the show. Before that time, I have worked with mostly female models and was interested in adding more male models to my portfolio; so this was a great chance to do so.

After the show we went to a nearby bar to chat about the show and upcoming collaborations we may do. My friend had an idea of showing how men can evoke both femininity and masculinity through use of makeup. Traditionally, certain makeup is not used on men. Blush and eyeshadow are often only used on women to enhance their features. He felt that women had a chance to enhance their beauty everyday, but men do not have the same type of options. I explained that we are now in a unique time Golden period where we can explore these aspects of culture without so much judgement. Well at least not in New York City… 

A few weeks later as I began thinking about this project and researching ideas for the shoot I began to deep dive into photos, and create a mood board to get things started. While I was creating the mood board for the shoot, I decided to google ‘What is masculinity norm?’ this is the information that I found:

Traditional American masculine norms include heterosexual presentation, risk taking, emotional restraint, power over women, dominance, self-reliance, and winning.

Honestly, my first thought was “A man definitely wrote this” and laughed. I wanted to capture something entirely different from this random definition I found on the internet. Through working with a model named Stephon, and my team; I created a series of photos that shows emotion, vulnerability, power within oneself. All of which would lead to “winning”.

This photo is significant to me, because it shows how much we’ve changed in cultural norms and how it will continue to evolve throughout the years to come. I’m so very proud of this photo, and the work that went into this shoot. I titled it “Golden” because that’s how I felt taking the photos and working with my team. Also, the Fenty makeup products on Stephon’s face had him super golden. 

Definitely one of my favorite projects to date.


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