Coolife Hunts for the Queen Bee

By Jacqui Palumbo

Beauty and product photography duo Coolife was founded twelve years ago by Montreal-based artist Carole Beaupré and Paris-based artist Pauline Rochas. Upon meeting, the two quickly formed a business relationship that started with small personal projects and blossomed into a full-service production company from ideation phase, to imaging, to post production.

“We share a tendency toward perfectionism, refined tastes, a wry sense of humor and a visual sensibility that centers on classic compositions and concepts that break boundaries,” Beaupré says.

Their perfect balance of yin and yang in both personality and work ethic is what fuels their successful partnership, attracting luxury clients such as Estée Lauder, Moët & Chandon, Ralph Lauren and Elizabeth Arden. Rochas comments, “The exchange of complementary ideas, strategies and styles manifests in the work: It allows us to explore every detail and concept from all angles, yielding a degree of depth that no one person could achieve alone.”

Their innovation is what keeps Coolife ahead of the game. Coolife was among the first studios to offer digital photography exclusively. “We’re committed to pushing technology and art to their most innovative limits,” Beaupré emphasizes. In today’s photography market, simply being a photographer is no longer enough. Beaupré and Rochas offer everything from start to finish. They prefer to work in close partnership with clients and manage all aspects including art direction, styling, model making, casting, set design, digital imaging and retouching.

By Kilian Fragrances is just one of the many clients who have entrusted their entire campaign to Coolife. A repeat client, By Kilian is an eco-luxe parfum brand from Paris founded by Kilian Hennessy. Coolife was assigned to convey both scent and name of their fragrance “Back to Black – Aphrodisiac” in a new worldwide ad campaign. Beaupré and Rochas acted as both creatives and photographers, developing their concept “Long Live the Queen” on the notes of honey, woods and ambers the perfume was built upon.

The two decided to feature a drip of honey and a bee with the product. They happened upon the iconic Irving Penn image “Bee Stung Lips” in what they call “a moment of serendipity.” They opted to use the same breed of bumblebee, the Imperial Queen, to represent both power and femininity. Discovering the rarity of the bee only further inspired them to achieve their goal - they wanted an exceptional bee for an exceptional perfume. After turning down substitute breeds and model makers, they traveled across the United States to different beekeepers to find the right species.

Their search was not unusual to their business practice, as Beaupré and Rochas are perfectionists. They succeeded in sourcing an Imperial Queen bee for their shoot, not settling for anything less. Using a Hasselblad H4D-40 with 120 Macro Lens, they photographed the product and bee as they envisioned it.

The images can be seen in Harvey Nichols store all over the world, including London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Riyadh as floor-to-ceiling backlit displays, as well as Le Bon Marché in Paris and Tsum in Moscow. The print ad is running in fashion and beauty magazines such as Numéro.

To see more from Coolife Studio, visit their Web site.


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