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Portraits of Mothers Who’ve Been Given Makeovers by Their 3 to 5-Year-Old Daughters

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Model:Ashley Donoghue Makeup Artist: Aavie Donoghue (Age 3)

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Model: Kerri Madsen Makeup Artist: Abby Howell (Age 4)

For #DaughterDoesMyMakeup, Canadian photographer Elly Heise invited girls aged three to five into her studio, arming them with the mascara, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick needed to makeup their mothers’ faces however they wished. In handing over creative control to the children, she works to subvert contemporary ideals of beauty and femininity, placing value instead in self-expression and individuality.

In this celebration of non-conformity, Heise not only challenges the pressures faced by modern women but also honors the precious bond between mother and daughter. Though the girls’ makeup jobs are predictably inexpert, the parents wear them with the utmost seriousness. In conversation with The Huffington Post, the artist explains that the project is in many ways a tribute to the serious work of motherhood, to those women who help to inspire and empower their children.

In a world where childish notions are laughed about or cast aside, Heise celebrates the innocence and spontaneity that permeates the first years of life. According to the late psychologist Jean Piaget, the young makeup artists are in the preoperational stage of development, at an age where role playing plays a large part in the shaping of an individual identity. With the help of their mothers, Heise’s collaborators are given the opportunity to act out the part of the beautician, to explore what they find beautiful on their own terms, free from the restrictions and qualifications that our society might place on them later in life.

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Model: Kristi Tetzlaff Makeup Artist: Brooklyn Tetzlaff (Age 5)

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Model: Shannon Shipman Makeup Artist: Sadie Mae Shipman (Age 5)

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Model: Vasia Han Makeup Artist: Echo Han (Age 4)

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Model: Brandi Pahl Makeup Artist: Grace Pahl (Age 4)

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Model: Maggie Knight Makeup Artist: Simone Knight (Age 4)

All images © Elly Heise

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