Kara Fox of Glamour Project displaying her photography in her Santa Monica home. Photo by Westside People
Glamour Project’s Kara Fox and Evvy Shapero talk about the past seven years making homeless women and gang kids look beautiful
By David Rosenfeld
There’s no mistaking the power of a photograph. In the case of Glamour Project’s Kara Fox and Evvy Shapero, who photograph homeless women in glamorous poses with full hair and makeup, the power lies in front of the lens. The pair says the experience brings joy to their subjects and a beautiful photo to remember it by.
“If we give people a happy day and they have that in their mind, they can think about that in gloomy days, then I believe we’ve done something really good,” Fox said from her home in Santa Monica.
Fox began photographing juvenile offenders at Camp David Gonzalez in Malibu more than seven years ago. It was then she first understood the healing process that having a picture taken of yourself could create.
“My concept was if I could work with gang kids who did carjacking and murder, and I could teach them to look through the lens of the camera and into another person’s face and get very close to the person, they would begin to feel empathy with the person at the other end of the camera,” Fox said.
The idea worked, which led her to form the non-profit Glamour Project. When Fox called her friend Evvy Shapero, a biofeedback therapist, and asked if she’d like to help extend her work photographing homeless women, Shapero figured she’d do it just once. But she was hooked. For Shapero, who does hair and makeup, a startling recognition occurred one day at a downtown homeless shelter.
“I had finished this woman’s makeup and she said it’s so nice to be touched by a human being,” Shapero said. “And that just opened up a whole new world for me. I never thought of it in those terms. We all have a basic need to be cared for and be acknowledged. A lot of the women, particularly those who are abused, there is so much shame involved, so to be touched in a kind way is very meaningful for them.”
About once or twice a month Fox and Shapero arrange to setup shoots at a Los Angeles-area homeless shelter equipped with beauty products along with a collection of scarfs and hats. They also provide women with bath products they can use later. One of the most startling aspects of the “before” and “after” shots of the women they’ve photographed is not only their appearance, but their radiant smiles.
“It’s such a joy to see that and experience that with them,” Shapero said.