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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 third instalment of this ongoing series, I sat down with photographers Kris Klein, Francisca Aldunate Azocar and Patricia Reyes 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 three 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. As we ease our way out of 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.

Kris Klein, New York City, USA

Kris Klein has an inherent need to tell stories, not simply through text or in an image, but as an experience. Transcending what he describes as an abusive and violent past instilled in him a passion for escapism and color at times when things were dark. Through self-portraiture, he taps into what he calls the power of transformation. “Somehow we reveal more about who we truly are by adding more layers, not stripping them away.” This sentiment was the driving force for Kris’ multidimensional, textured, and more-is-more makeup look. Kris’ most tragic and traumatic experiences have left him with an overwhelming sense of his own mortality. By addressing and confronting these truths he says, “even when life seems to be draped in black, la vie en noir can be la vie en rose if you look for color in the darkest places.”

Francisca Aldunate Azocar, Santiago, Chile

Francisca Aldunate Azocar is a photographer based in Santiago, Chile. The words she spoke and the images she shared inspired her makeup look. “Even though [Santiago] is a city full of cement, my work is often linked with nature, flowers and landscapes.” With the focus on two main images, one of a tiny pink and green fairy beneath a dandelion and the other of a dreamy, lush graden, Francisca’s makeup came to life in colorful, vivid, shining detail. She shared that she sees herself as a fairy inspired by the sun, plants, quartz and the sea. In shooting her look, she created her very own secret garden in the city, perfectly capturing a nod to each of the elements she keeps close to her heart.

Patricia Reyes, Stockholm, Sweden

With a Venezuelan mom and Swedish dad, Patricia Reyes feels very much Swedish in Venezuela and very much Latina in Sweden. “That has allowed me to pick and choose the best from my two cultures. I sometimes refer to myself as Laindiasueca since my mom is part Indigena/Indigenous.” Patricia studied International relations at Stockholm University and started assisting fashion photographers in Stockholm. After a while, she got into shooting herself. The balance, contrast and duality of her background along with colorful, fluid imagery she provided led to a makeup look that breaks conventional form but works harmoniously as one piece. The playful, liberated quality reflects her life. Outside of work she loves horseback riding on Sundays, singing gospel, RnB and soul, dancing to Hip Hop, house or Latin music, and cooking to enjoy good food. Her current obsessions are 3D postcards – the ones that move when you tilt them.

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