Hello fellow frag-heads, my name is Elizabeth Renstrom and my pronouns are she/her. I’m a photographer and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. A lot of my work tends to incorporate elements of product nostalgia and objects that trigger adolescent memories galore. What better to do that than the headache-inducing body mists I wore to cover the stench of my budding puberty? I’ve always found it fascinating that our sense of smell is the closest tie to our memory bank, and I have definitely experienced that in my own life.
Two of the scents that kicked off this entire project are important to me for very different reasons. The first is Skin So Soft from Avon, a product my beloved grandmother always doused me in to “deter” mosquitos in the mid 90s. I wanted to dedicate one of my first write ups to that phenomena as well as the deep connection lots of people have to Avon products because of the people in their life that may have sold them. The second was Love Spell by Victoria’s Secret. I feel like that scent barely needs an intro because it’s singed into everyone’s nose hairs from gym class. I knew I could speak to the kind of girl who wore it and the specific insecurities of covering the sweet smell of Maxi Pad.
Thus my project Basenote Bitch started out of this desire to investigate how perfume is tied up in formative memories and how certain bottles reflect the times. Each photo is inspired by the year the perfume came out and the kind of person I think would wear it. It’s a series that channels nostalgia for iconic products and the collective connection we have to beauty and fragrance. Tune in to read reviews of the seminal scents of yesteryear and interviews exploring people’s fragrant history.