If you are follower of African fashion, style and beauty, then you are probably familiar with the images of Paris-based photographer Mario Epanya. The Mario Epanya who divided online opinion with his super-stylish series of fictional Vogue Africa covers, a concept that was turned down by Condé Nast giving rise to the debate of whether or not Africa needed Vogue. Fast forward seven years and the Cameroonian-born photographer is once again setting the digital world alight this time with his debut book BEAUTIFUL: Portraits of Black Beauty. And what a treat it is.
BEAUTIFUL: Portraits of Black Beauty is a love letter of sorts dedicated to his grandmother, mother and the women in his life, and especially to black women everywhere, its pages filled with stunning portraits of everyday women and models of colour, celebrating the diversity in skin tone and hair texture. Through BEAUTIFUL Epanya sought to create a book that a mother could show to her daughters with the underlying message that ‘you are beautiful’ no matter what the mainstream media say.
The publication of BEAUTIFUL is particularly significant for Epanya as it marks ten years from when he first picked up his camera professionally. A former make-up and hairstylist Epanya made the transition into photography using his craft to champion and challenge the portrayal, and lack of black beauty in the wider beauty industry, his images used in campaigns for the likes of L’Oreal and Maybelline New York.
Available in separate English and French editions, BEAUTIFUL presents 168 pages encased in a luxurious velvet touch hardback format with silver foiling.
Published by Shoko Press, BEAUTIFUL is a chance to own a stunning collection of Mario Epanya images conveying the message that black is indeed BEAUTIFUL.
BEAUTIFUL is priced at: £24.99
To purchase BEAUTIFUL visit: www.shokopress.com
For further information about Mario Epanya visit: http://mario-epanya.format.com
[Image credits: The images shown belong to Mario Epanya. If downloaded and used elsewhere, please credit accordingly.]