Tag Archives: Makeup


16/10/12 – Work In Progress: Skull Montage

At the moment I’ve been trying to find ways to distort and manipulate the photograph by slicing, crumpling, ripping the surface of my own self portraits. These processes were inspired by the Starn Twins, two contemporary photographs who reconstruct their own photographs in order to create a different interpretation of the image. I have written about the Starn Twins, please click on the link below for further information,


In preparation for my exhibition in November, I am applying various techniques and processes to my own photographic work. The first attempt involved slicing the photograph into different segments and reconstructing the image with glue. The lines were uneven and I my stanley knife was quite blunt also this process did produce a different effect, I was distracted by the textural surface of the image.

Attempt One 


I was no longer looking at the actual context or subject matter, I was looking at the different squares and segments. In a way, slicing and manipulating the photograph withdraws from the original context of the photograph, in the original image I had used makeup to replicate the Mexican Day of the Dead skulls in order to explore my own interpretations of death. When I view the reconstructed version of the image, all I see is squares, I no longer think about death or mortality, just squares.

I decided to take a photograph of the montage with artificial lighting, the image is very blurred although this particular effect adds a very old, distressed appearance to the photograph.

Attempt Two 

In the second attempt, I had tried to use a similar process, I sliced the photograph into smaller segments or squares and I could not remember where to place them. I had placed numbers on the back but they did not match the image, it was similar to solving a jig saw puzzle. Instead of throwing away the photographs, I decided to apply the different segments onto another photograph. As a result, the squares did manipulate and distort the original image and I was instantly attracted to the textural surface of the photograph.

These processes could be used for the exhibition at the end of the year, the aim is to continue experimenting with my own photographs as much as I can. In comparison to the first attempt, I do appear creepy and even sinister through the actual placement of the photographs, this is quite a different response from the first montage.

I would recommend some of these techniques, try adding water or cello tape to your own photographs, you’ll be surprised how many different effects you can create from a few simple materials.

Self Portraits inspired by Christian Boltanski.

30/9/12 – Work In Progress: Self Portraits and Photographic Work

At the moment I have been trying to manipulate my own photographs through traditional printing techniques. I have been using a digital SLR camera, although I thought that I would try to modify the photographs without using photoshop. I have been testing my ideas on normal cartridge paper through an inkjet printer. Instead of using photoshop I have been dipping photographs into water, ripping, tearing and cutting the paper into segments in order to create a different effect.

I also found one of my visual diary’s that I had bought when I was in High School, although I had realised that I have never used it. I had removed the folio from the back of my closet and I decided to use it for all of my experiments that I am currently working on at the moment.

Drawings, Photographs displayed on my Wardrobe Door. 

I have discovered that dipping the photograph into a tray of water will remove some of the ink from the image. This particular process adds light and texture to the actual image and ink that has been used for the photographs does tend to change colour.

I have also reconstructed my own photographs and in some of the images I’ve also applied black paint to the surface. I have been experimenting with as many techniques, styles and methods that I could possibly think of. At the moment I am trying to find ways to change the exposure, the lightness and the contrast of the photographs without using modern technology.

I must admit, it has been difficult to abandon the computer, especially photoshop but it has provided an insight into different methods and techniques. I intend to manipulate, distort and fragment the photographs until it is time to actually display some work in my exhibition.I decided to sprawl all of my work onto the floor and take a photograph of everything that I have produced so far.

Christian Boltanski, Humans 1994

Christian Boltanski 

The way I have sprawled my photographs all over the floor and the walls reminds me of Christian Boltanski’s photography. There is one installation in particular that I have found inspirational especially for the final display of my photographic work. According to the Guggenheim website, Humans 1994 by Christian Boltanski questions the representation of death in photography through a series of black and white portraits that cover the entire gallery space.

Boltanski’s family portraits evoke a certain presence and an absence through the lens of the camera. The way the photographs are displayed is very interesting and the Guggenheim also describes the artists portraits as a “monument”. In “Camera Lucida”, Roland Barthes explains his own interpretations of the photograph as a “monument”. Barthes quotes “Death itself should be immortal: this was the monument. But by making the (mortal) photograph into the general and somehow natural witness of what has been, modern society has renounced the monument” (Barthes, 1993 p.93)

I do find it quite difficult to personally reflect on Boltanski’s work through the images on the Internet and I do believe that I would engage with the works on an emotional level if I was present in the actual gallery space. Humans 1994 features such an interesting and unique display that may possibly generate a personal and an emotional response from the viewer. One can argue that the display in the gallery space may alter the meaning and the context of the photographs. Over the next few weeks, I do intend to research other works and exhibitions by Chrisitan Boltanski for ideas and inspiration.

Guggenheim, “Christian Boltanski”, Guggenheim Art Gallery, 2012 http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/show-full/piece/?search=Guggenheim%20Museum%20Bilbao&page=1&f=Institution&cr=2 (Accessed 1/10/12)

Roland Barthes. Camera Lucida Translated by Richard Howard.  London: Vintage Books, 1993. p. 93

Image Citations:


Momento Mori

17/9/12 – Skull Makeup in the City: Filming Momento Mori 

On monday, I had put my acting skills to the test in one of my boyfriend’s media project at the Melbourne cemetery. The film, “Momento Mori”, features a businessman who wakes up in a graveyard, “Dave” does not know where he is until he finds a figure wondering in the distance.

The figure begins to walk directly to “Dave” who then begins to wonder why he is wondering around an empty graveyard. The figure, is undead who begins to point at the gravestone, although Dave begins to become exasperated by the figures lack of words or expressions.

I had agreed to play death and I had used my own makeup to create a representation of the skull. I decided to apply the makeup at the art studio at the university and I had then travelled to the other side of the city in a suit. I will not lie, I did get a lot of strange looks as I walked through the city with the image of the skull painted onto my face.

Actually I had received a lot of mixed responses, some people didn’t even care that I had tried to replicate death, others looked shocked or offended. The reactions that I had received on the day had invited me to question how one may define the subject of death? I don’t think there really is an answer, everyone has a completely different interpretation of death.

After the filming, I had decided to take photographs of myself in the cemetery and I actually look quite creepy. For some strange reason I did not feel uncomfortable or disturbed in the cemetery, it was quite peacful. After spending an entire day in the cemetery, it was quite a strange feeling to arrive back into the city.

So the main question that I wanted to ask myself is…did I feel any closer to death? I played death, replicated death, acted as death, but do I have a connection with death? I actually forgot that I had the makeup on my face and at some stage I had even forgot that I was playing death.

I must have some sort of connection with death, perhaps I haven’t found it yet. To a certain degree, everyone must be frightened or afraid of death that affects each person differently. On the way back to the city, a woman has approach me and she had said that my makeup looked really scary from the back of the tram.

It was actually quite interesting to see and hear all the different interpretations on the day. Some actually liked the makeup and others had given me a weird, disconcerted look. It would be interesting to actually film myself walking through the city with the makeup on my face just to see of the different responses and reactions.

#13 Makeup Test

30/7/12 -Purple Makeup Style

There is a weekly challenge that is on Word Press at the moment, which invites other bloggers to submit a photograph with the colour purple. I decided to use purple for the style of the makeup, although the different eye shadows created different tones and shadows, which feature a brown or a charcoal colour. There are a couple of photographs, which will be submitted into the Weekly Challenge, which features lighter tone of purple in comparison to the other images.

I also used a death grey foundation, which worked well with the white setting powder and the makeup definitely created a smooth complexion compared to the cheaper foundation from the supermarket. In the past I have struggled applying the eye liner to the base of the makeup, although it was easier to apply the makeup over the top of the death grey foundation.

Every eye liner that I have bought so far has cracked, although I did not have any problems with the death grey foundation. I have incorporated certain designs and characteristics from the skull that my parents have bought from a shop from Sydney also known as Holy Kitsch, which sells Day of the Dead Merchandise.

The mouth may have required a shade of white in order create some similarities to the image of the skull. The eye shadows were blended into the eye liner in order to create a smooth composition between shape and colour.

It was quite a sunny day and Spring is almost on its way, which is the ideal opportunity for taking photographs. The light definitely added some interesting tones and shadows to the style of the makeup, although there were a few images that appear quite dark. The dark images also highlights my own facial features and the makeup around the eyes, nose or mouth.

The dark images feature very interesting compositions between light, form and texture, which also creates similarities to the image of the skull through the eye sockets or the nose. I do believe that the previous makeup test featured a close resemblance to the skull and I only used a black eyeliner for the style of the makeup. Perhaps it is true what they say, less is more and I may not need lots of makeup for the actual style.

The black and white does provoke more of an emotive response, which I have mentioned in my previous posts. According to Stanley Brandes, The black and white resonates more of a connection with death and the image of the skull.I’ve grown up with the black and white image of the skull in popular culture, although the Mexican Day of the Dead is a topic that I have become familiar with over the past couple of years.

Perhaps culture and age impacts one’s perception of death, although the skull has been made accessible to a large audience. One could argue that the Western culture use black and white as an appropriate representation of the skull, which resonates a morbid or frightening depiction of death.

Does colour really have a close connection to death? From a personal point of view, the use of black and white provides a darker representation of the skull compared to the Mexican Day of the Dead. Does the use of black and white actually initiate a close association with death? The makeup tests have become visual research, which encourages further contemplation into the actual meaning of the skull.

Cadafalch, Antoni. The Day of the Dead: El Dia De Los Muertos.  London: Koreno Books, 2011. p.7 – 13 p. 43 – 46

Brandes, Stanley. Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead. The Day of the Dead in Mexico and Beyond.  Australia: Blackwell Publishing, 2006. p.7 -13

Holy Kitsch Website, http://www.holykitsch.com.au/

#12 Makeup Test

26/5/12 – Makeup in 30 Minutes proves to be a Success 

Today I decided to create a quick photo shoot with an old selection of makeup. I created a basic style for the makeup, which I was able to achieve in a space of 30 minutes. All I used was a black eyeliner for the outline and dark brown eyeshadow for the tone, which defined the shape of the skull.

Rick Genest tattoo’s and Lady Gaga’s music video have influence the style of the makeup, although I have also used my previous photographs as a source of experimentation.

I have noticed that it is easier to apply the eyeliner without the foundation or the setting powder. Most of the time, the eyeliner usually crumbles or falls apart, which usually makes a small mark in the style of the makeup.

I also applied a light orange and a white eye shadow around the lips, although the colours did blend into the eyeliner. The blended colours actually creates an interesting composition with the rest of the face and the aim was to create a skull with warm or earthly colours.

For some strange reason, my bath tub is a great place to take photographs and the light from the bathroom window creates a clear image. I suppose the back of the house has more light compared to the front of the house, although there are lots of windows, which also assists with the photo shoot.

I was quite lucky today and the sun suddenly emerged from the clouds as I was taking the photographs around the garden, which created an interesting composition with the skull makeup.

I have also been experimenting with different effects on Photoshop and the sepia actually adds an interesting effect. The warm colours compliment the red jumper that I was wearing and the makeup, which also features some interesting tones or shadows.

It’s interesting to view my progression throughout the entire year and I have improved since the beginning of March where I had absolutely no idea how to create a skull from makeup. Each makeup test has provided the ability to improve my skills in painting and photography, which will assist with the development of the exhibition.

The objective is to practise with the makeup and the photography until the end of the year in order to develop certain skills or techniques within these two particular art forms. The makeup tests have assisted with the development of the exhibition and it will be interesting to see the final results at the year of the year.

I still have a long way to go, although the makeup tests have provided the opportunity to practise with materials that I am not familiar with, which has been challenging in parts but rewarding in others.

The makeup tests may be used as a final piece for the exhibition although I do plan to continue on with the photography and the makeup until the final installation, which will also document my progression within an artistic format.

The question I always wonder is…do I feel any closer to death? I still see the image of the skull as an image or representation, for me it is hard to recognise the connection with death. Once I am older my interpretations my change and I may begin to see the skull from another perspective.

In saying this, there is one black and white photograph that does feature a close resemblance to the skull through the shape of the jaw line, which is pronounced through the black eye liner. I do believe that the black and white still resonates a significant response or emotion compared to colour or sepia.

I will practise with different styles and designs in order to determine if I will ever find a connection with death and whether my interpretations of the skull change due to the colour that is used. Can colour influence a person’s interpretation of death or mortality?

#10 Makeup Test

18/7/12 –  Does the smudged makeup really work?

Yesterday I experimented with the makeup that I had in the bathroom. I used eye liner, a black lipstick, liquid foundation, white setting powder and black eye shadow. I was pleased with the results and the eye liner definitely creates a better outline compared to the normal eye pencil, which crumbles.

I decided to smudge the makeup with baby wipes in order to determine whether I was able to produce a different effect or style. The image is very dark compared to the finished results, although the smudged makeup definitely removes the shape of the skull.

It does look like I’ve been through a fire or some sort of traumatic event. I do like the effect from the smudged makeup and it is interesting to see all the flaws or the imperfections. If I am intending to create a terrible makeup style haven’t I already achieved my goal?

It is interesting to see the aftermath from the actual makeup and it would make an interesting juxtaposition with the finished results. The shape of the skull is still evident through the eye sockets and the nose, although the viewer would find it easier to recognise the image of the skull within the other photographs, before I had smudged the makeup.

The different smudge marks and brush strokes may suggest that the image of the skull is melting or fading away. The makeup may symbolise my attempt to escape the pervasive presence of the skull within the urban culture.


#8 Makeup Test

16/5/12 – Appropriation of Jose Pulido’s Mexican skull prints.

Makeup and Photography by Charlotte Pridding

Original print by Jose Pulido

I do have an original copy of Jose Pulido’s print that is usually placed on my bedside table. The print features a Mexican skull that is dressed in a cap and gown, which has provided inspiration for the style of the makeup. I received the print last year as a gift from my parents as part of my graduation, which has become a source of creativity within the project.

I decided to replicate Pulido’s print through the application of makeup and face paint. To begin with I used a layer of foundation and setting powder with a thing layer of face paint of the top. The makeup and the face paint looks pale to begin with although the colour does fade after the next hour or two, which is why I am considering to use primer for the need trial.

The white base is quite difficult to achieve and it is challenging to create an even complexion. A sponge or a compact powder is useful for the base of the makeup, which will eliminate any uneven brush strokes or textures. The setting powder was beginning to crumble and I decided to use a layer of face paint, which allowed the powder to set onto the face.

I used an eye liner and black face paint for the design, which was applied with a very thin paint brush. I do struggle to paint onto my cheeks and the skin causes the design to stretch. It is much easier to paint onto the forehead and the chin where the skin stretched over the skull.

In comparison to the last makeup test, the black and white definitely has more of an impact compared to the colourful representations of the Mexican sugar skulls. I was pleased with the results although there are some areas that do need retouching with a hint of black face paint. The makeup trial invites me to question why the black and white makeup triggers a response compared to colour? The black and white makeup immediately contrasts with the base colour, which creates a very bold or striking composition.

Does the black and white makeup resemble the image of the skull through the shape or the colour? The style that I have replicated is not dark nor sinister, although the experiment does identify how colour can impact my perception. It is challenging to recognise my facial features through the black eyeliner or eye shadow in comparison to the primary and the pastel colours that I have used in the previous experimentations.

Does the colour of the makeup impact my own interpretations of the skull? It’s strange because I’ve always been attracted to the colour, the shape and the style of the Mexican sugar skulls, which have definitely influenced my own perceptions of death. For some reason I am attracted to the black and white makeup compared to the pastel or primary colours that I have already used.

Never-less I have enjoyed creating colourful or illustrative depiction’s of the Mexican sugar skulls through the makeup and the face paint. I remember feeling quite shocked or overwhelmed with the results from the black and white makeup. I suppose it all depends on the shape, the colour and the style of the makeup as well as my own emotions during that particular time.

I’m not to sure why I am attracted to the black white makeup more than the colour, although it must depend on the style or the design. I must admit that the black and white is quite dark or sinister compared to the colour, which may provide the reason why I respond to the black and white. This particular style is not morbid or grotesque, which may indicate that the lighting, the angle of the camera and the outfits may intensify the makeup.

The light was quite dark, which did cause the photographs to appear quite blurry, although I did find at least three photographs that were high in quality. I am interested in my own responses to the makeup and I intend to practise with different styles or representations.