Sugar Skulls inspire Black & White Self Portraits

14/1/12 – Work In Progress

Last week, I decided to practise my makeup style for my own self portraits; over the past few months I have been using makeup and face paint in order to replicate the Mexican sugar skulls. The black and white portraits were apart of my honours research project that explored my own personal interpretations of death. Throughout the project, I discovered that the absence of colour did impact my own emotional response to death; I then began to explore the way the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration differs from Western / European interpretations of death that is often considered as a subject of fear and anxiety.

I’ve decided to continue with the project and I have used my sugar skulls as a source of inspiration. I have been making my own sugar skull moulds and decorating them with icing sugar; the blue and orange skull I had created has provided inspiration for my self portraits. I have replicated the floral patterns around the eye sockets; this particular design did contrast with the dark backdrop.

So I did have a small problem while I was applying the makeup; my eye pencil actually snapped in half and I had to used a liquid eye liner to finish the job. The liquid eye liner was quite difficult to use although I did manage to complete the design towards the end of the day. Once I had completed the makeup, I decided to sit in front of the backdrop I have made for myself and I started to take photographs.

So many people have asked…how do I take the photographs of myself? Well I have tried to use a tripod, for some reason the photographs never seem to work. So I just hold the camera and I continue to adjust the settings until I am able to take a photograph I am pleased with. The photographs are quite dark but that is what I like about them; it is the darkness that instantly reminds me of death.

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