Call of the Wild

Photographer James Houston redefines the natural world with a lush tome and an exhibition.


Several years ago, James Houston, a beauty photographer who regularly shoots ad campaigns for L’Oréal Paris, bought a five-acre lot beside a spring-fed lake in New York’s Sullivan County. The landscape made a lasting impression: “We get so busy that it’s easy to forget,” he says. “But nature really got it right.” It’s safe to assume, however, he’s not just talking about the trees and the mountains. His new book, Natural Beauty (Damiani), is filled not only with captivating images of scenery but also nearly nude portraits of models and celebrities: Coco Rocha covered in pollen; Anja Rubik imitating a jellyfish; Emma Watson accessorized solely with orchids. Houston, who has partnered with the environmental organization Global Green, is showing this work at Milk Gallery in New York through May 5.

Call of the Wild: Natural Beauty Project, by James Houston