Untouched Beauty: Models Photographed Without Photoshop

Photographer Jack Salzke has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to capture 100 photos of real models wearing no make up.

The photographs would contain no Photoshop, and as Salzke describes the results would only contain, ‘their beauty, expression, lighting and a simple black and white conversation.” The hope of the Kickstarter campaign is to raise enough money to produce a book.

Tamara Mircic


After hearing about the project I got in touch with Jack to ask some questions.

Can you tell our readers a little bit about your photography journey?

I was always interested in photography, even as a kid – I remember whenever we took a trip to Sydney, mum would always buy us a disposable camera to play with while we were on the trip… for some weird reason I only ever took photos of traffic lights though?

From there I always dabbled while we were on holidays but never really took it very seriously until I was 16 – 17 when I started getting really into wildlife photography and macro photography, and actually managed to win first place in the 15 – 17 years category of the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards and subsequently win my mum and myself a trip to London!

After that I was slowly but surely becoming more interested in portrait photography, I didn’t have a huge array of people to take photos of in my hometown of Wagga Wagga, NSW but after moving to Melbourne and having access to models, makeup artists and hair stylists really took my photography to another level.

Now I’m at the point where I’m beginning to get all my kit together, I’ve got my own studio space in Richmond called Warehouse 100 and we’re slowly but surely amassing a good collection of studio equipment.


Rebecca Hunt

Why did you decide to take on this project?

There were a variety of reasons, the first being that I was a little bit bored one day and wanted to start something that I could really sink my teeth into.

The second reason, and probably the reason you were looking for – is because I’m sick of the media telling everyone that these women are actually ugly without makeup and Photoshop, whenever you see a gallery online of models “caught” without makeup, they’ve been caught in bad lighting, in an awkward position (maybe eating or talking) and they probably have some makeup on anyway.

I want to show the world that these models are really beautiful women, even without their makeup and without Photoshop.


Lily-Mai Blackmore

When you’re working in the studio with these women what sort of lighting setup are you using?

I’m trying to change it up for each model, another part of this project for me is that I get to advance my lighting skills by learning how to light for different faces and highlight them in a way that best showcases their individual beauty.

In general I’m using quite large light sources and trying to stay away from hard light. The lights are basically all in front of the model and above her eye level (unless it’s a fill); from there I’m just playing with different angles and trying to feather the light in different ways.


Jamie Fowler

For this project how many women do you plan on photographing, and are you looking for more people?

I’m planning on photographing at least 100 women, which is going to be a stretch – but I think it’s something that will be achievable. At this point in time I’m not looking for more people, I will be sourcing all my models directly from different modeling agencies with bases in Melbourne to ensure that all the models in the book are working within the industry at least semi-regularly. What camera and lens combination are you using?

I’ll be shooting most if not all of the images using my trusty Nikon D800 with my Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro or my Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.


Hayle Pirrotta


Can you explain how you are converting the photographs to black and white? What sort of workflow do you have in place?

The photographs will be converted to black and white using Adobe Lightroom, the process is relatively simple – I’ll be shooting everything tethered straight into Lightroom so I can inspect the images on a much larger screen, from there I’ll be hitting black and white, and just tweaking exposure levels, contrast, and the B&W colour mix.


Finlay Kennedy

As a professional retoucher and photographer do you think it’s important to retouch portraits or does it depend on the type of job?

It definitely depends on the type of job, but I think in most cases it’s very important – I don’t know if my views are unique in this sense, but I’ll try my best to explain my take on retouching…

When you’re with a person they’re generally not standing completely still, because of that movement your brain doesn’t recognise every single mark on a persons face – if I were to ask you how many moles/scars/freckles your best friend has on their face, you’d be able to take a guess but I doubt many, if any of you could actually give me an accurate answer.

Hence I see retouching in a similar light, I believe you should take an image to a point where a person still has all their unique features, but some of their less noticeable blemishes are removed – hopefully that makes sense.


Colette Walker

If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming photographer what would it be?

I know it’s cliché, but just shoot, shoot, shoot!

Apart from that surround yourself with the most talented people you can – if you want to get into model photography, stop shooting your friends and use models who know their faces and know how to pose, use makeup artists, stylists, get whoever you can, and get the best that you can!


Clare McInerney

Can you share a story? What’s the most memorable thing one of the models as said to you about this project?

The time I actually get to spend with the models is so minimal that we don’t get a huge opportunity to chat, there was one girl – I can’t remember exactly who it was… but she came into my studio feeling a little unsure of herself without makeup, we shot for a little bit and I was showing her the photos along the way – at the very end I just remember her saying, “I actually like myself without makeup in these photos”.


Ally Ribaux

How can potential supporters of this project help you out?

By pledging – even $5 makes the world of difference! But if you can’t afford to give anything sharing the campaign with as many people as you can is a huge help also, getting the word out if one of the most difficult things to do, so share, share, share!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for supporting this project! Without your help this just simply wouldn’t be possible, so thank you all!

If you would like to support the project click here.


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