Photography can act as a mirror of the real world, it can promote something that isn't entirely truthful or it can provide a mask, a barrier if you like to what's really there. It can also be more about the photographer than those depicted.
Photographer Monica Fernandez's latest project depicts women as they prepare to go out, in the midst of what could be called their "beauty rituals". The photographs show the mask being applied and yet much of what's in the frame reveals something about Monica herself.
But these are not strangers, Monica has a connection to each one, she said:
"Being connected to the women photographed was very integral to the ethos of the project. Without actually being in the photographs, I feel this work is quite a self-portrait.
"In a way, I wanted to be part of these pictures, but I didn't want to position myself externally as a National Geographic style 'documentary photographer capturing the reality in a bathroom'. I wanted to say, we are in this together."
As with all photographs of people you are revealing a moment of someone's life to the gaze of others. As Monica knows her sitters there is an ongoing conversation about the work:
"The pictures are not posed or retouched, and I believe the magic happens because of the trust established between the women photographed and I. It is socially tempting to think that I could integrate some celebrities in this project in a future, but the ethos is very much about misidentifying the celebrity culture and glorifying the ordinary divas of everyday.
"Nevertheless, as I plan to continue this project, it is very possible I might integrate initially 'strangers' who might become good friends throughout the process."
But is the "ritual" something all the women want to do? Or is it something that society has enforced, or maybe it has just become second nature and there is no way out?
"The moments of silence, of reflection, of 'self-assessment' against the mirror were such a revealing part of the project. I hope I transmit this duality with the relationship of the women always against their reflection.
"Although quite often, I felt religion and society were playing a big part in 'a decent life, a decent look'. I actually realised deep down, most of these women were getting ready for themselves or their girlfriends.
"They looked at their wrinkles as open books full of experience and they looked at themselves with dignity and sense of humour, overall feeling happy about who they are. They do not buy magazines that make them feel ugly.
"But this is it, 'happiness does not sell', this is why there are not many images of them (happy women aged 45-65) in the media. It's all about age being a problem; let's create needs, let's create solutions, let's create money. This is why this project, coming from women, says 'enough'; enough of treating the image of women like fast food."
In your latest project, Look at Me! Images of Women and Ageing, you are asking for people to upload their own pictures, how can they do that?
"As part of the project, there is going to be a series of workshops, talks and a publication. Apart from sharing my images, I wanted to show the work of 'strangers' taking part. I want people to feel warm and celebrate the important women in their lives. You do not have to be a celebrity to feel beautiful.
"The mechanisms to upload pictures are either through the Facebook Group (Domestic Glamour) or emailing them to the website, where I will upload them.
"Initially I thought of doing a list of tips of how to take these types of images ('place yourself by a mirror side, look for the reflection'...and so on) but I thought let's see how other people address the subject."
Any submissions so far?
"Yes, the first submission we've had is of a husband who has photographed his wife putting her contact lenses in and has also captured the conversation they had, providing text with the images."
Monica's website provides more information for those wanting to take part.
Domestic Glamour by Monica Fernandez will be on show at the Light House Gallery in Wolverhampton from Friday 28 January to 24 March.