Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh
Channeling my inner Winnie Chen here

Originally, these were meant to be polaroids for a modeling agency I recently signed with. But after smashing a nice black and white filter on them the way I used to do it with eyeliner on my face, I found that they make up (ha — “make up” — you don’t wear makeup when taking digitals for agencies… that was funny, duh) for quite a cool photo series on their own. So I came up with a title, calling them “Perfect Illusion” after Lady Gaga’s 2016 comeback song. Which is an allegory in so many ways…

Flashing back to September 2016, you may recall Lady Gaga coming back from hiatus with the most stripped down version of herself, wearing casual jeans and tees as well as a little to no makeup at all. Some may say she returned looking “normal”. Whereas that’s an arguable term, in my opinion — “normal” for me is someone being themselves, unapologetically. And unapologetic she has always been throughout her career. Having pondered about that, it’s clear that my styling —or rather non-styling — resembles that of Gaga right before and after releasing her 5th studio album ‘Joanne’. I even have a particular editorial in mind, but I can’t remember the publication.

I’m sorry, the old Lary can’t come to the phone right now

For me taking pictures without wearing any kind of makeup (except for throwing in a little mascara here and there) was a rather strange experience, because I’m used to regarding makeup as a vital means of self-expression, which — in it’s essence — is all I’m doing and want to do here and everywhere. At the same time it felt incredibly liberating to get rid of the Perfect Illusion we’re coating ourselves with every day. We’re covering up blemishes or try altering visual characteristics nature gave us despite the fact that all this is part of our-unique-selves. Therefore we’re creating so-called Perfect Illusions on a daily basis (at this point, we should all be magicians already). It doesn’t matter if wearing makeup gives others a “wrong impression” of who you are, fuck their opinions. What matters is the opinion we have of ourselves and if makeup is used to literally conceal parts of us — like me altering the shape of my eyes with eyeliner for years — the best thing to do is just to take a step back and consider who you’re even trying to fool. [Speaking to old, dead Lary here. Taylor Swift-style and stuff.]

I’m not saying I’ll never wear makeup again. Definitely not. To clarify: Except for some photo shoots I’ve never worn foundation etc. No point in smearing skin-coloured chemicals on skin-coloured skin, if you ask me. I’ll always love a good cat or smoky eye, however. And highlighter, oh yes, highlighter. What I’m trying to say, though: It’s healthy to lift the curtain and free the bunny from the top hat from time to time in order to regain a better sense of yourself. That’s probably exactly what Gaga did when reinventing herself for Joanne, only on a much larger scale.

Another important fact is that I didn’t edit or retouch a single pixel of this series. Which made it a quick and easy job, by the way. Took me more time to put my thoughts into coherent sentences. But it didn’t only make it a time-saving endeavor, but a true one on top… hat.

With that, here’s moi from various angles and zoom-stages. Have fun — or don’t, I don’t care.

Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh
Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh
Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh
Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh
Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh
Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh
Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh
Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh
Perfect Illusion black and white self-portrait series by photographer Lary Rauh

Say hello on Instagram (@LaryRauh) sometime and check out my Portfolio!

Stay fash!

LR

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