Photographer: Dinu Li
The inspiration behind my shoot came from the film Dangerous Liaisons (1988) by Stephen Frears. In the opening and end sequence to the film, the character Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil, played by the actress Glenn Close, is seen in her room applying and removing her makeup. Looking in her mirror, Merteuil expresses very specific emotions depending whether she is pampering herself with make-up or having it wiped off.
When confronted with the challenge of portraying a Taiwanese, I wanted to revisit this ritual-like routine that Lillian performs almost on a daily basis. The person one becomes or returns to in the process of applying or removing make-up became really interesting, particularly within a Taiwan context and how it defines itself from an inward and outward perspective.
At no point before or during the shoot, did I mention Dangerous Liaisons to Lillian and whilst shooting I remained a silent witness, offering no instructions at all. I simply wanted to see what sort of facial expression Lillian may pull in performing an act she knows off by heart, one she can probably do on autopilot, almost without thinking.
By Dinu Li, photographer http://www.dinuli.com/