If you’ve been following the blog over the last year or so you will know that I’ve wholly and truly been bitten by the photography bug. All of the photographs on this blog for the last year or so have been my own and I’ve made a conscious effort to use my own photos over press shots because I want to visually interpret the fragrances I write about. But I’m breaking from tradition today, because in this post I’m showcasing the amazing work of a professional photographer working in the perfume industry: Mr David Newton.
David Newton is an illustrator turned photographer who has worked with some seriously big names in the industry – Harrods, Vogue, Dior, YSL – you name them, he’s worked with them. David photographs cosmetics and accessories as well as perfume, and his style is idiosyncratic as well as visually stunning. I first became aware of his work at the Jasmine Awards this year where he won an award for his jellylicious work with Harrods magazine. I have since dived into his portfolio and become increasingly more obsessed by his unique visual style. David is an amazing photographer and he provides a fascinating insight into his process in this interview. He also has really good taste in perfume, which you’ll find out as you read on.
Seeing as we spent yesterday talking about perfume and photography, it makes sense that our first fragrance review of the week is one inspired by that very art form. Now, if you’re not familiar with Olfactive Studio you really should familiarise yourself. I think it’s one of the most exciting and well thought-out niche brands out there and where so many try to do something different but do so in a muddled way, Olfactive Studio avoids gimmicks and succeeds in creating a strong narrative in each of their perfumes. So yes, they’re an exciting niche brand that you should really explore!
For their latest scent, Close Up, Olfactive Studio has taken inspiration from a photograph taken by Armenian photographer Suren Manvelyan. The shot is a close up of an eye that questions one’s perceptions. As Olfactive Studio ask, “is it an eye wide open or a miniature world replete with lands and oceans?”. Close Up is inspired by these contrasts and presents in stunning detail, the opposition of warm, fuzzy notes against vibrant fruits. Is it a soft blanket of amber, or is it a bowl of alcohol-soaked cherries? The question persists.
It was as I was setting a bottle of perfume in lime jelly last week in preparation for blog photography that I realised that I may just be a little bit mad. Creative, yes, but also a bit bonkers. Over the last year or so I’ve made a real effort to ensure that any photos that appear on The Candy Perfume Boy are ones I’ve taken rather than marketing shots. You might be wondering why this is, especially as it’s a real effort and it does lead to strange occurrences, such as when I stained my stark white dining table green in my lime jelly endeavours (whoops!). The answer for me is two fold: firstly, I’ve always loved photography but have only recently found a knack for actually taking photos myself (it’s now a thoroughly enjoyable activity for me); and secondly, there is something really fascinating about trying to translate an odour into something visual.
Perfume is the most vivid of the arts, yet it’s the hardest to describe and visualise. With The Candy Perfume Boy it has always been my aim to make the art of olfaction more accessible, explaining and now presenting fragrance in an easy to understand way. This is why I’ve dived so deeply into the world of photography because it can instantly show the spirt or odour of a fragrance just in one image. Translating these scents into a photo is a really fascinating undertaking. It’s fun to be literal, creating tableau’s of a fragrance’s key materials or to put together something entirely more abstract, using art, craft materials, lighting and the natural elements to make something beautiful.
My favourite medium of Social Media is Instagram, so it will be no surprise that my Instagram account (you can follow me here, BTW) is filled with many, many pictures of my favourite things, specifically a variety of images related to perfume, food and my family. You can say a lot with a simple picture and I personally find it to be a fantastic way to represent the spirit, or essence of a fragrance by pairing it with a piece of art, or a carefully-selected background. I’m a bit in love with Instagram, if I’m being honest with you, whether I be using it to flirt with perfume photography or simply stroking my ego with a cheeky, but essential selfie…
One thing I’d like to start doing via my favourite medium is record some of my everyday scented experiences using photography and a smelly commentary. I’m calling the series ‘Scented Stories’, or ‘#ScentedStories’ for the social media savvy amongst us, and I’d like to invite you along with me to explore the smellier things in life. Photos and captions will initially be posted on my Instagram and then collated in a blog post here. But this isn’t just about me (not everything can be, I know…) and I’d like to hear/see your #ScentedStories too! So, tell me about the interesting smells you come across and share your photographs, comment away, and let’s traverse this wonderfully, and beautifully fragrant world together.
For my first Scented Story I have documented a recent trip to that most wonderful of places – the British seaside. When we were kids, my father would take my siblings and me to a small town in Suffolk called Aldeburgh. Unlike many seaside towns, Aldeburgh is quaint, laid back and fairly untourist-y, but it does have all of the things one expects from such a place, namely; a beach with painful pebbles (murder for the feet, let’s face it), plentiful ice cream, tacky gift shops and, most importantly, killer fish and chips. To rekindle fun times spent by the coast, we (as in my siblings, father, step-mother, husband and I) have started taking semi-regular trips back to Aldeburgh with my nephew and below the jump is just a small photo essay, complete with scented commentary, of this year’s trip. Enjoy!
A while back I reviewed the entire Olfactive Studio collection for my column at Escentual. All-in-all I found the concept of photography-inspired perfume to be well executed (the bottles look fab and the whole idea is refreshingly un-gimmicky) resulting in five intriguing and nicely crafted fragrances that most definitely get two thumbs up from me, especially the incredibly unique Autoportrait.
This September Olfactive Studio will be adding a sixth perfume to the collection – ‘Ombre Indigo‘. The brand have recently debuted the scent at Esxence, Italy’s art fragrance fair and the juice is coloured in such an awe-inspiring shade of blue that I simply had to share it as this week’s perfume pic of the week. Just look at that colour, isn’t it just every kind of awesome?