Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, the married Dutch photography team, have worked together for 32 years, shooting for every household name in luxury, from Gucci to Louis Vuitton to Saint Laurent. But it was only recently that they were handed their dream assignment. And, surprisingly, it wasn’t for a fashion brand. The duo was tapped by the cult clean-beauty line True Botanicals to create a one-of-a-kind ad campaign, driven more by emotion than product shots. Company founder Hillary Peterson created True Botanicals three years ago with the ethos of nourishing self-care. “I became aware of the toxins that were being used in personal-care products from an experience I had with thyroid cancer,” she says. “I learned then that what we put on our skin goes into our body. I thought, ‘How can I change that?’ ”
Peterson wasn’t interested in repeating the luxury skin-care market’s usual messaging of “pure, clean, white—everything’s very clinical-looking,” so she reached out to Van Lamsweerde and Matadin to help tell a gorgeous, immersive story for the plant-based skin-care line. “We thought, let’s just look at the world of True Botanicals and not necessarily ‘This product does this,’ but more the feeling, this idea of losing yourself in nature and being open to that experience,” Matadin says. They shot on the beach and in the meadows of Marin County, capturing the expansive, free feeling that’s reflected in ELLE-exclusive shots below, inspired by the collaboration. “There’s a sense of abundance,” Van Lamsweerde says. “We were driving around, and it was so magnificent. People look at this landscape and say, ‘Look at this!’ You’re kind of like, ‘Oh my God, I’m in a whole other reality.’ ”
Hair by Ward at the Wall Group; makeup by Sil Bruinsma for True Botanicals; models: Kirsty Hume at DNA Models and Kelsey Lu; produced by VLM Productions.
This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of ELLE.