Photographer and make-up artist launch ‘black is beautiful’ project

Stabroek News Photographer Keno George and make-up artist Decarla Hodge this past Wednesday launched ‘Melanin and Honey’, a collection of photos of African Guyanese women that seeks to endorse that black is beautiful.

Keno, who launched the project on Facebook, posted that the project is a reminder to black women of their beauty. He said, “It serves as a visual representation of the versatility of their complexion… When everyone looks the same it is not always easy to be confident in your uniqueness.”

The idea of the project was birthed when a fellow photographer brought to Keno’s attention how difficult and sometimes frustrating he found editing photos of darker-toned women. This sparked the idea for him to embark on a project with African women and for Keno it was more than photo editing and highlighting the beauty of black women but also encouraging them to be proud always.

After much consideration, Keno sought a makeup artist who would use her professionalism to not cover up but who would understand what he was looking for in enhancing each woman and making her stand out. He found Decarla.

“All I ever did was pitch the idea to her,” said Keno while praising her for the work she did. “She was the one who actually put together [the look].”

The next task was finding the women for the shoot. According to Keno, he wanted to shy away from the popular models and find fresh faces. Once that was accomplished, Decarla and Keno got down to work. One month later, after a number of photo-shoots, Decarla’s magical hands and photo editing, ‘Melanin and Honey’ was ready.

An elated Keno said it was bigger than he expected, “bigger than great” were his exact words.

For a long time, there has been praise for this photographer’s work but ‘Melanin and Honey’ just raised the bar.

Though Keno has been in the profession only three years now, word of his work is widespread yet according to him he has never seen anything like this. At the time of the interview with The Scene, only three hours had passed since he launched on social media and the messages and calls he was receiving were faster than he could respond. Already, he is booked out and trying to figure out how he will ever make the time to do more requested shoots.

The models, he said, were ecstatic to have been part of this project adding that for them it was a confidence-booster, part of his main objective from the start.

The idea behind releasing on social media, he noted, was the fact that projects like these require a huge amount of funding taking into consideration, the printing and framing and he wasn’t sure about how it would be received. Since the launching, people have already been placing their orders to have their very own ‘Melanin and Honey’ collection.

Keno is already planning a new project beginning this coming week. For a closer look at the ‘Melanin and Honey’ collection or for prints, interested persons can check out Keno on Facebook, Instagram at kenolg_photography or contact him on 667-9787.

Decarla can be reached on Instagram @eyecarleymakeup

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