Talk about a dream job: shooting celebrity portraits for the world’s glossiest magazines, A-list models for Victoria’s Secret and buffed bathing beauties for Sports Illustrated. These are the kinds of projects that are on Canadian photographer Raphael Mazzucco’s to-do list. And, as if that were not enough to keep him busy, Mazzucco has made the often-difficult transition from commercial photographer to artist with compelling canvases that merge photography and painting.

Recently, Mazzucco collaborated with Lancôme to produce a collection of limited-edition boxes that house its Gold Fascination collection. Mazzucco and his wife, makeup artist Lisa-Marie Mazzucco, worked together to create dreamy images inspired by Canada’s female athletes focused on winning Olympic gold medals. The talented couple also share a passion for athletics: Lisa-Marie won a gold medal in figure skating, and Raphael played professional soccer. “Now,” he says with a boyish laugh, “I only play on the beach.”

Mazzucco is known for his everevolving technique of layering images, which involves shooting, reshooting and adding texture with paint. For this project, he even used the actual makeup from the collection. The resulting photographs are strong, spontaneous and romantic— a far cry from the typical posed beauty shots. “We worked on this project for a month,” says Mazzucco. “I like to let my work evolve—there was lots of thought, lots of layers.” For example, he snapped his model kissing her boyfriend for the L’Absolu Rouge package, used the lip colour to paint the photograph and reshot the photo. The result? A sensuous image of her freshly kissed mouth.

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