Every weekend as I’m scrolling through my feed and Insta-stalking the celebrities and influencers that I fangirl for, I come across something interesting and inspiring in the beauty space. From jaw-dropping transformations to drool-inducing hair, there’s always something that I can’t stop staring at or watching, and it instantly garners a double-tap.
Essien Akan is making magic with her fashion and beauty photography. After discovering a photo of hers on Ocean Africa, I began scrolling through her Instagram account. It was one of those instances where you start scrolling, and the next thing you know, it’s been hours and you’ve been consumed in this social media world. This world included brown faces, bright colors, and the beauty of how they come together to create something astounding.
A Nigerian-native, her photography showcases women with dark skin tones in yellow hair, bright orange lips, neon green eyelids, blue shadows, and so much more. And I love it. She doesn’t miss the nuance of anyone’e features, highlighting their attributes against the backdrop of these bold colors. For someone who initially studied mechanical engineering, her use of colors and light are anything but mechanical.
“I’ve always known I had a passion for creating art,” Akan says in her portfolio bio. “I enjoyed creating beauty and fashion images inspired by my background and roots in Africa. This prompted me to get my first camera, and I’ve been shooting ever since.”
In the photo that initially sparked my love for Akan’s work, Minneapolis-based model Hawah Jabbie is transformed into an electric dream. Makeup artist Skelly, @susan.vee, lent her treasured hands to the achieve the neon-powered beauty look. And Akan pulls back the curtain on the shoot to show us what the photo looked like in raw and in Lightroom.
What she adds is special and alluring and I look forward to seeing more of her creations. Akan’s work can be seen in magazines and several ad campaigns.
*All images are the property of Essien Akan.