PHOTO DIARY: The Brujas Project channels end of Summer nostalgia through sorority, womanhood, and mystification

As Summer nears its end, it’s important to savor every last moment of the sunshine while we still can.

No one knows this better than Marie-Elaine Gagné and Mallory Lowe, the stylist-photographer duo responsible for the Brujas Project. The Brujas Project explores womanhood as it pertains to nature, sorority, and strength: all while incorporating one-of-a-kind, beautiful clothing as well as inanimate objects to bring the vision to life.

I asked Marie-Elaine and Mallory all about the Brujas Project, what inspired it and of course: where we can get the clothing.

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Read below for some sick end-of-Summer inspiration, as well as what inspired this glorious natural, mystical shoot.

What inspired the shoot? 

(Left) Chiffon Ruffle button up blouse: Vintage from Kunst Online shop, Natural Beige Asymmetric Maxi Skirt: Vintage from Kunst Online Shop, Ephemeral Dry Flowers Earrings: Handmade by Stylist

We are actually roommates and coworkers: it was a real coincidence when we first moved in together last year. We didn’t know we’d complement each other’s vision so well. Joni is very crafty: she has a good stylist eye, and loves to design props— she is more into creative direction. Mallory is the visual eye, the photographer. She’s an idea-machine and a big-picture person. We’ve been collaborating on many photoshoots in the past year, and realized we just work well together.

(Right) White long sleeves blouse with detailed and adjusted corset: Kunst Online shop, Natural Beige A-line Maxi skirt: Kunst Online shop, Wooden hoops earrings: Kunst Online shop, Straw mini basket purse: La Montréalaise Atelier
 (Left) White detailed V-Neck button up maxi dress: Vintage from Kunst Online shop, Ephemeral dry flowers earrings: Handmade by Mallory from Kunst Online shop

We are both really hungry and take our projects to heart; we don’t do things halfway. The Brujas (Enchantress in Spanish) project was inspired by the sistership we ourselves share as roommates, friend and coworkers. As two independent creatives we are seeking to built inspiring and uplifting spaces for other women. Our desire for Brujas was to create a narrative evolving around sorority, womanhood, nature and mystification.

All of the girls on the shoot actually met for the first time that day, and they instantly connected. It was beautiful to see them laugh together and fool around in the nature, the energy was just great.

  Natural Beige braided long sleeves button up shirt: La Montréalaise Atelie, Natural Beige asymmetric Maxi skirt: Vintage from Kunst Online shop

The girls went about casting the shoot in a very 2018 way: via social media. They didn’t want to be restricted by agencies or any other bureaucratic systems, so they took to the most democratic way possible. The stylist and photographer explain that while they were not looking specifically for agency models, they wanted to find everyday women of different backgrounds.

We were both inspired to meet and collaborate with girls from diverse cultural backgrounds with unique narratives. Sano is born and raised in Montreal. Of Uyghur origin from Kyrgyzstan, Russian speaking and Muslim. Ghita is Moroccan, Charlotte is French-Canadian and Selma is from Alger, Algeria.

(Third model): Wooden hoops earrings: Handmade from Kunst Online shop, Beige customized cut-out dress with O-Ring: Custom made by Joni from Kunst Online Shop

Our intentions for Brujas was to design a space in a natural environment where they could feel at ease and be themselves. It was important for us that everybody feel free to actively engage in the artistic direction of the shoot. And they did so, wonderfully! They all helped bring the vision to life, offering suggestions and even sometimes taking turns holding the reflector. We had a blessed time.

The series was shot at Champs des Possibles, a natural green space jointly managed by citizens, which, as it turns out, also plays into the theme of sisterhood and community. It’s located in the Mile-End in Montreal: a trendy, laid-back area with an artsy vibe and multicultural roots.

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As for the styling, the girls went for clothing and accessories with naturals essences such as wood, straw and raw materials:

“We used earthy tones and pale colours such as off-white and beige to keep it pure and simple and to remind the viewers the connection to earth. Our goal was to reflect this idea of simplicity and purity in the woman-to-woman connection.

A few of the accessories where Joni’s design and reworked pieces from her online shop Kunst, and Mallory also made a pair of earrings. We pulled a few accesories and tops from La Montréalaise Atelier, a local brand owned by Sabrina Barilà, a self-made entrepreneur and independent designer.”

Natural Beige long sleeves cardigan: La Montréalaise Atelier, Natural Beige braided long sleeves button up shirt: La Montréalaise Atelier, Beige see through mesh sleeveless maxi skirt with ruffles: Kunst Online shop

How did the use of inanimate objects help execute your vision?

Since the casting was made with girls from various cultural backgrounds and we wanted to include inanimate objects following our nature and earth connection theme, we decided to incorporate different vegetables, plants and roots, from diverse geographical locations.

We had a bitter gourd which is similar to cucumber and was first cultivated in Asia and Africa known for its therapeutic proprieties against certain cancers. We also used, Yucca roots (also known as Cassava/Manioc), a tubercular similar to the potato, playing an important role in the African food production, providing good natural energy boost. Finally,we used garlic, known for its important medicinal practice history and also used as a protection from bad souls and dangerous forces.

All these natural elements brought visual diversity and complemented our Brujas vision: A collective of women empowering, uplifting and healing each other spirits in the most organic way possible.

Photography: Mallory Lowe
Styling: Marie-Elaine Gagné and Mallory Lowe
Makeup: Andréanne Tremblay
Clothing featuring La Montrealaise Atelier



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