Updated: May 21, 2021 10:00:05 pm
Angelina Jolie came on board with National Geographic to celebrate annual World Bee Day on May 20, and the results were stunning. The actor, known for her philanthropy, decided to raise awareness and send across the right message with an evocative image. In the photo and video shared, Jolie was seen covered in bees.
The photo was taken by National Geographic photographer Dan Winters, who is also a beekeeper. In the picture, the Salt actor was fully covered by bees.
In a long post on National Geographic’s social media, it was also detailed that the actor has been long involved with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UHCR) and now is working with “UNESCO and Guerlain on a Women for Bees initiative” with the intention to “build 2,500 bee hives and restock 125 million bees by 2025—while training and supporting 50 women beekeepers.”
“To promote the initiative for World Bee Day, in collaboration with @natgeo, Angelina wanted to do a portrait covered in bees. I’m a beekeeper, and when I was given the assignment to work with Angelina, my main concern was safety,” Dan Winters shared.
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He continued, “Shooting during the pandemic, with a full crew and live bees, made the execution complex. And I knew the only way to ensure we achieved the desired effect for the photo was to use the same technique that Richard Avedon used 40 years ago to create his iconic beekeeper portrait. I hired my friend Konrad Bouffard, a master beekeeper, to help. He contacted the entomologist who formulated a special pheromone (known as queen mandibular pheromone, or QMP) for Avedon and worked with him to capture the image of beekeeper Ronald Fisher, which appeared in his book “The American West.” The entomologist offered to let us use the actual pheromone from the Avedon shoot. We used Italian bees, kept calm throughout our shoot by Konrad. Everyone on set, except Angelina, had to be in a protective suit. It had to be quiet and fairly dark to keep the bees calm. I applied the pheromone in the places on her body where I wanted bees to congregate. The bees are attracted to the pheromone, but it also encourages them not to swarm.”
Check out the video on how it was put together.
“We also placed a large number of bees on a board that rested in front of her waist. Angelina stood perfectly still, covered in bees for 18 minutes without a sting. Being around bees is always an experience that leaves me in awe. I think this shoot was also an awe-inspiring event for all who were present—and our offering for World Bee Day has its own roots in photographic history. Creating this portrait exactly 40 years later, we are not only honoring bees and beekeepers everywhere today, we are also honouring Avedon, his iconic image, and the technique by which it was achieved. #WorldBeeDay,” Winters wrote in conclusion.
According to a report in InStyle, the actor faced a little discomfort but she managed it just fine. “I did have one that got under my dress the entire time…It was like one of those old comedies. I kept feeling it on my knee, on my leg, and then I thought, ‘Oh, this is the worst place to get stung. It’s getting really close.’ It stayed there the entire time we were doing the shoot. And then when I got all the other bees off, I lifted the skirt and she went away.”
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