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F Word’s photographer self-portrait series Role Reversal was born at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic and developed as a response to creatives’ frustrations surrounding virtual shoots. Some photographers felt that shooting virtually was better than nothing while others described it as unnatural and even gimmicky. Some makeup artists felt left out of the creative process when they had to completely step back from face-to-face work. We’ve now reached a point where in-person creative work has resumed with Covid-safe guidelines, but Role Reversal remains the same. Working in a process where the roles are reversed gives photographers the opportunity to shoot in a different format than they’re used to, and they’re further challenged with the task of applying makeup. It’s clear that new alternatives that began as temporary adaptions offer wisdom that can be integrated going forward.

For the fifth instalment of Role Reversal, contributing beauty editor Emilie Louizides got to know photographers Alma Rosaz, Maja Rybicka, and Lilly Creightmore through individual email conversations. The things that move Alma, Maja, and Lilly, their favorite hobbies, artists, imagery, and upbringings served as Emilie’s inspiration for makeup looks unique to each of them. After creating each look, Emilie taught the photographers how to apply them over Zoom calls. The final results are their self-portraits.

Alma Rosaz, London, UK

Born in a small town in France and based now in London, Alma Rosaz is a fashion and portrait photographer who describes her style as quirky and imaginative. She has a fascination for staging and storytelling, escaping reality by traveling to fictional and kitsch places of her own creation. Having the experience of living in many countries, including Nigeria, Norway, and Indonesia, and being the daughter of a painter, contributed to “educating her eyes for all sorts of arts, colours, and cultures.” Alma’s standard practice involves the use of props, composition, and transforming her subjects into her own characters. This time, Alma became a character that came to life initially through makeup with “big shapes and colours” and her signature lip, and was ultimately animated in her own world with a cast of flamingos, cows, and kangaroos.

Maja Rybicka, London, UK

Maja Rybicka, a Poland-born, Birmingham-raised, multifaceted artist living in East London, grew up as “a bit of a weird kid”. She gravitated toward the arts to “cope with life” and remembers her nana taking her to the markets to look at beautiful art books - Manet, Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Van Gogh - and very occasionally letting her buy one. Visiting the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, gaining access to computers, discovering the modern art world, studying photography and photographers, and honing an interest in painting, led to where she is now, creatively. The last great book Maja read was The Politics of Experience by R. D. Laing, which talks about how each human experience is filtered through one’s previous experiences. “Nobody sees any one thing the same as anyone else, much like the “interlinking experiences and different perspectives” of Role Reversal.

Lilly Creightmore, Berlin, Germany

Lily Creightmore identifies as an artist and mother. Born outside London, she says she’s “a bit of a wanderer” who gets “the itch” if she’s in one place longer than a few months. She spends her time in Berlin and Medellin, Colombia - to be near her son - along with London, and occasionally California. Lilly is known “as a photographer, a chancer, a prancer, mostly always broke but somehow breaking the rules of conformity, often to my own despair, and finding a way to get there, wherever there is that month.” She’s also a filmmaker, writer, hat designer, DJ, and has a newfound obsession working with silver and bronze, collecting antique rings and amulets of the occult persuasion. As a nomad, Lilly travels light and still made the most of the minimal amount of makeup in her collection, which was enhanced by Medellin as her backdrop.


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