Mr. Mubarak Salim, owner of Indonesia Oil PT, a perfume company based in Indonesia, made contact with us. He was interested in having us shoot a promotional video and still photography project to create advertising materials for his new perfume “The Nose”.

At first that seemed to us like a very strange name for a perfume. American and European perfume ads typically focus on sensual and erotic beauty. For us westerners, the nose is not a very sexy part of the body. So why name a perfume “The Nose”? Thus began our crash course in the differences between American and Indonesian culture.

It was our makeup artist, Laurie Baldwin, part of the creative team for this project, who was quick to point out that “Perfumers” are affectionately referred to as “Noses” due to their fine sense of smell and skill in producing olfactory compositions.

A “Perfumer” is an artist who is trained in-depth on the concepts of fragrance aesthetics, and who is capable of conveying abstract ideas and moods with fragrance compositions. At the most rudimentary level, a perfumer must have a keen knowledge of a large variety of fragrance ingredients and their smells, and be able to distinguish each of the fragrance ingredients whether alone or in combination with other fragrances.

If you were to ask a perfumer what he does for a living he might say “I’m a nose”…in which case you might think he’s a lunatic if you hadn’t read this article at least this far.

Ok, so we understood that “The Nose”, as the name of our perfume, was not only a play on the sense of smell, but also a play on the idea of a type of connoisseurship involving in-depth knowledge about the concepts of fragrance aesthetics. But what about the nose as a sexy part of the body? Who ever heard of someone being turned on, or falling in love with a person because of their nose?


Thus we came to realize that associating a perfume with a non-erotic body part would not diminish its appeal to an Indonesian audience since they are not primarily motivated by sex the way we are in the west. We came to understand that the images Mr. Salim wanted should be sensual but not erotic, beautiful but not glamorous.

Finding the right model was another major challenge. We helped Mr. Salim search through the models of all the top Philadelphia agencies looking for the right level of sweetness and beauty with a “spiritual aura” as Mr. Salim put it. He finally settled on Kathleen from MMA Model Management.

We hope you enjoy our commercial photography perfume advertising project for “The Nose” perfume, a product of Indonesian Oil PT., by viewing some of our favorite shots. Click the link below. All images were shot at Church Street Studios, a long way from Indonesia, in studio and on the streets of dear Old City, Philadelphia.