The CEF Advanced Style Photoshoot: Absolute Verve and Pulchritude!

By Lory Keller, Social Media Coordinator

On February 22 a group of like-minded people gathered at S1 Studios, Suite 201B, in Toronto, Canada for Compassionate Eye Foundation's 2015 Advanced Style inspired photoshoot. The commercial images of our 60+ aged models, created and captured by photographer John van der Schilden, are the epitome of Advanced Style; a celebration of beauty, age, and modish, polychromatic fashion.

John, with behind-the-scenes photographer Kara Leo, and the production team spent the day with the fab five stylish and sophisticated women who view wrinkles, not as imperfections, but as the beauty marks of a rich and robust life. Incredible ladies for whom age is but a state of mind. John's and Kara's fine art images capture the vibrant individual essence of each of our resplendent volunteers.

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with our fab five models to ask them about their day in the studio. I asked Penelope Goranson, Andrea Bolley, Octavia Haggis, Louise Kerr, and Win Kuplowsky about the photoshoot, their volunteer experiences, and more. Thrilled to be volunteering for CEF, the day got better as they suited up in wardrobe. Cosmopolitan designer outfits, oh my! Next, they were off for a dash of color in makeup and then on to strut their stuff in front of the camera!

With an Advanced Style outlook that reveals a lifetime of learning and a desire to give back, these models do just that. They share their flair for fashion through artistic ensembles that catch and delight the eye. They give of their time through volunteering with CEF and other non-profit organizations. Model Win Kuplowsky shared with us her love of helping others through the Children of Chornobyl Canadian Fund and the Ukrainian Art Song Project a Canadian organization formed to promote Ukrainian classical music.

Win contributed not only her volunteer experiences, but took time to share a terrific description of all-things-wardrobe: "Sarah's selection of eclectic jewelry, shoes, funky boots, hats of every colour, texture and style adorned the work tables, clothes racks brimmed with fashion statements, the best of the best and she, like a magician at ready to create magic for the camera.  Hair and makeup... found us in up-dos, smokey eyes, lashes and tinted pouts. Transformation underway as an array of costumes, gloves, bangles, boots, berets and bags were mixed and matched in artistry. It was as if through this artistic collaboration of creativity a character of sort were born. What a wonderful day it was!"

In response to my request to pick three words to best describe the day, Louise Kerr chose these: "Liberating: having had the opportunity to present a refreshed view of the older woman (and there are plenty of stereotypes to wrestle with). Let's see more of these incredible 60+ women! Validating: This project embraces older women with all their 'creases' (a testament of their substance and resilience). Also the fact that this group of artists believed in the project and was willing to put their time and resources in to producing it: the celebration of aged beauty and experience. Celebration: of the strength and experiences that are etched on each one of our faces and bodies. Everyone is physically 'perfect' in their own way when they're 18, but the honoured portrayal of age with all it's 'flaws' is a testament to a discerning and civilized society." Penelope Goranson shared, "The shoot itself was magic. What a marvelous adventure!"  Volunteering is large part of who they are. Giving back is a pleasure, and as you can see, they do it with pizzazz!

CEF is immensely grateful for the generous donation of studio time from S1 Studio Director Craig Samuel, and for all our volunteers like the fabulous five, that bring such vivacity to share with our organization. Volunteering for CEF is always a unique and wonderful experience. Each CEF photoshoot is its own creative environment, full of effervescent energy and everyone bubbling over with a contagious enthusiasm. Beautiful photos aren't the only thing created at a CEF photoshoot, just ask the fabulous five. I'm certain they'll all tell you beautiful memories are created there, too.

Want to see more from the Advanced Style inspired shoot? Check out the amazing behind-the-scenes images on Facebook.