At a time when technology and photo editing software can possibly create anything, actress Angelina Jolie decided that she would choose to experience something real, especially when it is for a noble cause. The Hollywood actress was covered with hundreds of live bees in an attempt to recreate the iconic 1981 Richard Avedon portrait, The Beekeeper in a recent photoshoot. The image of beekeeper Ronald Fisher had appeared in his book, The American West.
Drawing inspiration from that image, Jolie’s recent pictures from the photoshoot were released on the occasion of Bee Day by photographer Dan Winters. The actress collaborated with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and French beauty brand, Guerlain for Women for Bees initiative.
Under this initiative, 2500 beehives will be built and restocked with 125 million bees by 2025, while at the same time, 50 women beekeepers will be trained and supported in their own operations. To promote this initiative, Dan mentioned in his Instagram caption, Angelina wanted to do a portrait covered in bees.
Dan, who himself is a beekeeper, expressed that his main concern was safety, since the shooting had to take place amidst pandemic and live bees. Dan mentioned in his Instagram caption that he knew the only way to achieve the desired effect for the photo was to use the same technique that Avedon used 40 years ago to create his iconic portrait.
Dan hired Konrad Bouffard, a master beekeeper, who contacted the entomologist who formulated the specific pheromone, also known as queen mandibular pheromone or QMP, for Avedon.
In a video shared by National Geographic, Dan is seen dabbing specific pheromones across Jolie’s skin to ensure that the bees did not feel threatened. The shoot used the same pheromones and calmed Italian bees that could be seen buzzing across Jolie’s body.