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When Covid-19 initially took hold and the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, it became clear that our lives were going to change significantly. Fear of the pandemic and the strict rules that followed left many feeling helpless and lonely. While we were literally and figuratively isolated, most creatives were going through the same thing. We all had to make adjustments in our lives, and for makeup artists like myself that meant that working on the faces of clients was out of the question due to social distancing guidelines. My professional and personal life merged when I chose to bring my job into a virtual space and teach people how to do their makeup from the comfort and safety of my own dining table. Photographers had the option to shoot from their own homes as well, but through their phone and webcams over FaceTime calls. Some argued that was better than nothing while others described it as unnatural and even gimmicky. The stopgap measure to keep going proved that working virtually had its limits; with most makeup artists completely removed from the photoshoot equation and photographers frustrated and dissatisfied with not being in the room with their subjects, there had to be a better option.

For the second instalment of this ongoing series, I sat down with photographers Chloe Brover, Sofia Adams, Liza Molnar, Laura Beckerdite, and Rebecka Slatter over individual Zoom calls. Together, we spoke about their favorite things and what moves them, which served as the inspiration for makeup looks unique to each of them. The final results are five self-portraits. The planning of this shoot was akin to a normal project which felt comfortable and familiar. However, we were simultaneously stepping out of our comfort zones; I relinquished control by directing the makeup rather than applying it myself and the photographers were faced with the challenge of working with makeup (some for the first time) and taking their own photo instead of a model’s. Working in this particular way has allowed me to not only feel included in the process again but to also tap back into the more creative side of makeup. It’s given these photographers the opportunity to shoot in person, albeit in a different way than they’re used to. Now with the UK in another lockdown, it’s clear that Covid-19 has forced us to come up with new alternatives. While many of these adaptations are temporary, there might be wisdom in integrating some of these methods into a future post-pandemic world.

Chloe Brover, New Jersey, USA

Chloe Brover is drawn to colorful and abstract makeup looks, alt process photography, old Hollywood glamour, and all things cinematic. Her classic red lip, winged eyeliner and penciled brows were all nods to old Hollywood while the inference of bold red and circular shapes directly reflected the works of photographers Driely Carter and Brigette Bloom. As Chloe puts it, “I find the effect that old photographic techniques have to be remarkable and have an authenticity that is hard to match in a digital world.”

Sofia Adams, New York City, USA

Growing up in the heartland of Utah’s Mormon country, Sofia Adams left the church but holds onto values instilled by their parents. Intersecting themes run through Sofia’s artistic inspirations, from the work of Gwendolyn aka Orbgoddess, Dain Yoon, and Selena Ruiz, generating in this makeup a juxtaposition of softness with graphic edges. Sofia detailed their current obsessions, providing further insight for this look: “My Holga, prison industrial complex abolition, improving life for EMS workers, the beach, the book Capitalism and Disability by Marta Russell.”

Liza Molnar, London, UK

Born in Hungary, living in Cyprus, Berlin and now London, Liza Molnar is dedicated to a life of writing, photography and tattooing. References, including a still from Derek Jarman’s Jubilee and artwork by Roger Ballen, served as a jumping off point for Liza’s makeup look and the clay sculpted self-portrait she was also inspired to make. Liza believes “sharing intimate moments of my life with others, as purely as it is possible, can help people to take necessary steps and risks to live life [to] the fullest.”

Laura Beckerdite, New York City, USA

Laura Beckerdite’s mental health is a source of inspiration, starting therapy to deal with emotions and traumas that previously crept into her relationships and all facets of her life. Laura is making art for herself, certain it won't be for anyone's validation but her own. Her makeup celebrates this perspective. Music video references, Jorja Smith’s Be Honest and Eden’s Projectors, supported the lines, colors and shapes in her look, which Laura emphasized with a go-to technique: “I tend to use lighting to make the viewer feel the emotions I want them to feel".

Rebecka Slatter, London, UK

Rebecka Slatter’s early life in the Swedish countryside was both inspiring and limiting. She escaped and channeled her inner thoughts first with crayons, then paint, and now with fashion photography. Inspirations for her makeup include painter Tamara De Limpicka, photographer Cecil Beaton and style icons Sophia Loren, and Elizabeth Taylor. Rebecka has discovered, “my aim isn’t any longer to imagine a fantastic world, but to capture the beauty of my reality, be it the ordinary, mundane, or extraordinary.”


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