These Freckles Portraits are Spot On

In 2012, photographer Brock Elbank was playing in a weekend-league football match in Sydney when a spectator caught his eye. It was his teammate’s son, Eddie, 10 at the time, with “an incredible face full of freckles, like I’d never seen before,” he says. (This was hardly the first time Elbank had found himself drawn to a quirky, distinctive facial feature; he’s also shot scores of bewhiskered men for his #Beardinstallation.) With permission from Eddie’s father, Elbank had the young lad sit for a portrait, and the session touched off what he calls an obsession with freckles.

He has since shot more than 90 portraits for his new #Freckles series, from women whose shoulders and cheeks are just dusted with dots to a nose-pierced gentleman with freckles traipsing over his eyelids, across his lips, and everywhere in-between. His subjects, who hail from Britain, Cambodia, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Kuwait, Japan, the U.S., and more countries, come in all ages, sizes, and ethnicities, with one thing in common.







Make that a few thousand things. Recent coverage of #Freckles made the project go viral, and Elbank has been inundated with messages from freckled folks the world over — more than 1,100 emails in the past week alone, not to mention countless messages on Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.

While the series has garnered much support (“Stunning!”; “Makes me wish I had even more freckles!”; “As I look through your pictures, I am reminded of my mom saying my freckles are angel kisses. I feel that way when I look at the people you photograph.”), Elbank says there is a darker side to the collection. “99% of these individuals have all suffered some sort of teasing, bullying, or verbal abuse,” Elbank, now U.K.-based, says. “People can be so narrow-minded and cruel. Every one of us is the same. Just because some are visually different shouldn’t mean they get a rough time at school and from society.”

See some of the breathtaking photos in my slideshow, here.

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OMG, What’s a GMO?!

Confused by all the crazy labels you’re bombarded with at the store? Think you’re being healthy by buying “natural” peanut butter? Freaked out by GMOs, even though you have no clue what they are? Then check out my Cosmo story, “When Did Food Get So Scary?”



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A Medical Crisis Led Me to My Best Friend

So proud of this story: I interviewed three pairs of best friends, all of whom met via incredible medical circumstances. One pair met while they were both awaiting heart transplants at Northwestern; another came together through embryo adoption; the third were backyard neighbors who had never met until one showed up at the other’s house with a razor and a request to help her shave (she was going through breast cancer treatment at the time and couldn’t raise her arm.) The story ran in Redbook. Read on and prepare to tear up!

A Medical Crisis Led Me to My Best Friend

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Starting Over…

For Woman’s Day magazine, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mariela Shaker, an exceptionally talented Syrian violinist who escaped her country’s civil war and is now living – and thriving – in Chicago.

Read the story here.

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I Gave Up Exclamation Points for a Week: Here’s What Happened

I recently texted my husband: “How does fish for dinner sound?” His response: “Sure.” I was puzzled. He loves seafood. I make a mean BBQ salmon. Why did he sound so lukewarm?

As I responded, “Don’t you mean, ‘Sure!’?” I realized: He’s not indifferent — he just doesn’t feel compelled to stud every message with multiple exclamation points, like my girlfriends and I do.

Take, for example, this recent email from a friend*:

Yes!!! We must meet up when we are there! There’s a great restaurant that you have to try. Seriously — they have sangria on tap!!

Miss you!! Happy 2016!! Have an awesome New Year’s Eve!

That’s 11 exclamation points (EPs) in seven sentences. A work email from a female Ivy League-level psychotherapist featured five EPs and a smiley emoticon in six sentences. And after scanning my Sent box, I found myself just as guilty: In almost every message, I used an EP in my salutation as well as when signing off.

Keep reading at…

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