As a director and creative director who co-owns Union, Beth Birkett Gibbs dedicates a lot of her life assessing how things look. Whether it’s clothes, images, graphics, or sneakers, like the ones she just designed for Jordan Brand. And with Bephies Beauty Supply, an e-commerce platform dedicated to women of color who are redefining beauty and fashion, she’s not only presenting beautiful products, she’s helping build community.

She wanted to bring that to her this shoot, Beauty By Nature. We tasked Gibbs with creating her version of a beauty campaign and she immediately thought about community, casting artists who are male and female identifying to show the depth of beauty and how healing the act of adorning oneself can be. 

“I noticed that most people have a lot of adornment, whether that’s tattoos or piercings. And I’ve realized in the beauty space it’s still seen as other to have that type of adornment even though the majority of people have them,” says Gibbs. “So I wanted to tap into that and it couldn’t be shot in a studio, so we went location scouting.”

The result was a shoot that didn’t focus on beauty and makeup as a tool to make something prettier, but rather beauty and adornment as a way to connect, whether that be with people around us or nature. Here, Gibbs speaks about what beauty means to her, what she wanted to achieve with the shoot, and how healing the act of beautifying and transforming yourself can be.