Fragile Beauty clearly demonstrates The Kaplans’ unique approach of shooting from the subject’s point of view. With Wendy’s background working in the fashion industry and Alan Kaplan’s experience as a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle photographer they wanted to explore similarities between tribal fashion and adornment with the way we dress and accessorize ourselves in the western world.
Ethiopia, in particular the Southern Omo Valley with so many remaining tribes of people, with specific looks for each tribe, proved to be the perfect place. Wendy’s own dress purchased from H&M, was a mirror image of the painted bodies of the Karo people, and a great cultural connector as everyone wanted her H&M dress, male or female. What they found during their filming was a cultural and human connection. At the end of the day as different as we look on the outside, we are all the same on the inside, with a range of emotions that define us as mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.
There was also the realization on their part that in no way can these indigenous people be helped to maintain their currently challenged traditions and belief systems by the modern world, as long as they are being looked at as a category, without being made aware of each individual. It was the intention in Fragile Beauty to explore and present the beauty of each individual through their lens and narrative.
Alan Kaplan has been creating award winning campaigns for a broad range of international clients for over 40 years. His photographic approach to lifestyle, travel, and portraiture reveals the heart of a visual communicator. His work has a strong sense of emotional reality and empathy, and is delivered with a graphic sensibility that clears away the distractions and concisely communicates the central idea.
Furthermore, he has consistently shown a sense of connectedness between all human beings: a secret language or a shared moment that sends a strong message and connective link between the subject and the audience, where the viewers are asked to experience themselves as participants in various scenarios, delivering a sense of character over caricature.
This is what allows his campaigns to resonate with his target audience that his clients are seeking to connect with. It produces a deep human quality achieved through a minimum of direction. In his own words “I have found it much more effective to allow the unexpected, serendipitous moments to occur in this way. I am always looking for those brief seconds that will create both an authentically and shared experience.”
Wendy Stuart Kaplan
As the host and producer of “Fragile Beauty” this actress-model-host and author wears all of these hats, when she’s in her hometown, New York City. But she’s also at home all over the world, as the “Model With A Mission” raising awareness and giving voice to those you might never hear. The endangered people, and threatened wildlife, are the subjects of her short films created by herself and her husband, visual director and photographer Alan Kaplan. These “Visual Diaries” help to educate and raise much needed funds for small not-for profits. As an interviewer, Wendy hosts panels and has interviewed many well known filmmakers, conservationists, and key players in the conservation and environmental battle.
In her spare time (ha!) she wrote her memoir, available on AMAZON called “She’s The Last Model Standing”, which really tells all of the juicy details of her life. She hopes you buy it!