The photographer behind your favourite glossy shoots talks clowns, Pingu and “hot guy hat smells” in her Dazed Beauty Community interview
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“I wanna say the fictional character I most relate to is some deep dark movie character,” photographer Charlotte Rutherford says. “But truly sometimes I think it’s Deedee from Dexter’s Laboratory. She’s kind of an obnoxious doofus and really annoys people but she means well and is too happy to notice the destruction she causes.”
Growing up in a rural town, Charlotte Rutherford got into photography through retouching her friends’ photos for social media. Her career has since skyrocketed, and she has shot everyone from Amandla Stenberg to Gwendoline Christie and Dazed Beauty Creative Director Isamaya Ffrench with Marilyn Manson, always with a strong sense of fun – Paris Hilton dressed up as an Oscar, Amber Rose as Marlene Dietrich and Rosie the Riveter. Most recently Charlotte shot Rihanna for the Savage x Fenty FW18 campaign and shot the music video for Zara Larsson’s “Ruin My Life".
Charlotte interviews exactly how you would expect from seeing her photographs - fun, funny, and full of colour, although maybe slightly less polished than her hyper glossy artistic style. From her career highlight (“last year I shot the Backstreet Boys which was probably the best day of my life”) to her favourite smell (“you know the smell of a hat when a boy has been wearing it for ages? Like ‘hot guy hat smell’?") Charlotte gives a mighty good sound bite.
What three beauty products are in your bag right this second?
This YSL palette with really good lip gloss and blush stuff in it. La Roche Posay SPF 60 Sunscreen, and Dior liquid eyeliner (the square one!)
What’s your earliest beauty related memory?
I remember two very clearly: taking my mum's blue eyeliner and drawing it on the bags under my eyes because I was too scared to put the pencil any closer and then crying because I couldn't work out why it didn't look like my mum’s. And the second is going to get my face painted as a clown but crying and screaming again because I thought they were going to paint on my eyeballs and not on my eyelid, both really similar stories!
What’s your favourite smell and why?
Lavender because it reminds me of my granny picking me up from school. Also a bit gross but you know the smell of a hat when a boy has been wearing it for ages? Like “hot guy hat smell.”
Who is your beauty icon?
I love Cher, always, always! Or just the whole of Kate Bush’s 1979 tour if that could be translated into a beauty look.
What is the future of beauty?
I think now that we kind of realise that money can buy you the “perfect face”, our idea of beauty is going to change a lot. So I think the future of beauty is going to be custom paint jobs! Focus on projecting your personality and intelligence through your look.
What’s your career highlight so far?
Last year I shot the Backstreet Boys which was probably the best day of my life because I’m obsessed with them! I shot a campaign for the Paralympics which something quite different to what I usually do but I really enjoyed it. Frequently working with Paris [Hilton] is always so fun and every time it feels very surreal!
What do you think the world will look like in 100 years?
Hard question! I think that maybe everything will be connected more, so you don’t have your ‘brand’ and your ‘real life’, everything will be more concise. Maybe our jobs and our internet profiles will all merge together so everything you do builds you up as a person a bit more like a video game.
Tomorrow you wake up with another face of your choice. Whose is it and why?
Oh my god, honestly anyone with cheekbones I dream of knowing what confidence good bone structure would give me! But I guess if this is not permanent I want to have the face of someone who had a shit ton of surgery to see if I can feel it when I move my face around.
It’s the year 2100. You’re the owner of the largest beauty tech company in the world, what five products or treatments will you dedicate your resources trying to invent?
1. A flipping eczema cure! 2. A foundation which is not applied onto skin like paint so you feel clean when you have skin makeup on. 3. Injectable hair colour so you don't have roots or damaged hair because the follicle colour is changed. 4. Non-invasive skull reshaping (I would like a bigger skull to face ratio but how the hell do you fix?) 5. A “negative space” beauty line for makeup and designs in the non-feature parts of your face
God - or let's just say a higher power of some sort - is only letting who they follow on Instagram into the afterlife. What kind of pic would you put up that perfectly sums you up as the person you were back on Earth?