In its basic form I’m sure the idea of mimes has existed since ancient times, an iconic silent performer who says a lot about the human condition. In modern form, mimes have narrowed down to a very specific performance style and a recognisable look. Love them or hate them, mimes have a very strong, distinct look which is contributed to in no small part by the accents of red they include in their elaborate make-up, a spot here, a tear there, a pair of red lips.
Once the make-up and costume is completely applied, the mime is nearly anonymous by design, an every-person, so it’s interesting to see this shot of the transformation from human being to performing symbol in this shot. The girl with the red lips and the mostly done mime make-up is touching up her dark eye lining, and you know she’s preparing to become the creature she is to be.
There are a hundred theories about the reasons behind the attraction we feel as animal and intelligent being towards a pair of flushed, shapely lips on a face. The evolutionary psychologists point towards sexual symbolism, and psychological analysts would talk of the phase of oral fixation and the like. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, we remain very attracted and subdued and excited by a pair of red lips framed in a head of healthy hair.
As selfies of lips and hair and warmly lit skin goes, this is quite a great example. A very simple image, but the focus is one the lips and it doesn’t matter that the rest of the face is off the frame. The harsh lighting frames all of it perfectly, streaming through long hair and tantalisingly open mouth makes this perfectly sensual. Rarely do you come across photographs that, while raw, are so evocative.
A red accent does wonders to an ensemble. Fashion accessories are often good carriers of accent colours and this photograph of a model sitting on railway tracks is a great example. The cool colours of her deep blue skirt and her white and grey blouse are well offset by the red in her lips and the striking red of her thin belt. Adding to it is the red belt itself which is slender rather than broad and works beautifully with the patterned blouse by being a braided rope belt; Two textures in an otherwise flat coloured look. A good use of contrasts.
Beyond the fashions and red accessories, I do love this photograph purely as an image. It has a simple openness to it that makes you want to keep looking. The model is inviting and the scene seems to lead you into the distance on journeys and adventures beyond this lovely green place.
A red cocktail dress is perhaps the very picture of publicity, while a bathtub is most private and personal, and folded within the realms of home and personal comfort. Cocktail dresses are meant to be seen, red ones certainly so, and in our bathtubs we hide and step away from the world with ourselves, only the water to soothe us. The juxtaposition of the two clashing worlds is what makes this image striking, the public face meeting he private face in a dramatically drenched scene. The bright red cocktail dress and the bright red lips on a made up face, usually meant to call attention, here soaking in anonymous privacy away from prying eyes, lost in water and wanton relaxation. Not to mention that floating in a bathtub wearing a red cocktail dress must be quite the outlandish personal experience, with many stories to tell.
Red wigs have always reminded of clowns and red noses and large shoes, but wigs have had more than entertainment value in the past, from ceremony to uniform. With the birth of Japanese anime and its propensity for colourfully-haired characters, bright coloured wigs and hair became the staple of comic cons and the cosplay circuit. That aesthetic has slowly creeped into fashion, fantasy and all manner of popular culture.
It’s now easy to get your hand on brightly coloured wigs in most costume stores and even red hair dyes and the like in even regular cosmetic stores. Makes it easier for someone to make the striking visual connection between model, make-up and prop as in this stark shot of a model wearing a red-wig, eating a large red strawberry.