Sunday, 7 August 2011

In Praise of Great Make-up Artistry

Danielle "Dee" Ball forties style by Scott Chalmers, makeup by Sharon Holloway at Vintage Hair Lounge
My makeup career began at the famed school of film and tv hair and makeup, Greasepaint, many years ago. I was never interested in "beauty", rather I had been captivated as a child with how people looked on tv and in films. Carry On Screaming monsters had scared the living daylights out of me, but everything from seventies tv comedies like It Ain't Half Hot Mum and the Two Ronnies to Bond films and Grease presented so many fascinations as to how actors were made to look the part whatever the situation, whatever the era portrayed, and whatever the comic or dramatic scene demanded.

Through experience as a screen makeup artist you learn continuously, not just the technical and creative skills required for particular looks, but about film stock, cameras, lenses, lighting and post-production grading, and all these considerations inform the decisions you make as to how to bring characters to life that fit the Director's vision. The myth that actors are cast because they already "look like" the character was never more shattered than in the film Monster, where Charlize Theron gave an Oscar winning performance as serial killer Aileen Wuornos, and wore one of my favourite screen makeups ever. An absolutely stunning piece of work, highlighted even moreso when in side by side comparison with her recent outing in Dior's perfume ad.

Charlize Theron in Monster
Charlize Theron in Dior ad
In recent years many high profile artists have spoken out about the amount of manipulation done to print photography and if you haven't seen the infamous Dove advert then here it is again.

And so to our most recent project, Seeing You, a film and photoshoot initially for our collaboration with clothing giants EAST, and now serving to highlight how to achieve a really authentic forties film look to hair and makeup. I shot the film in High Definition and no grading took place - the film images are exactly as they were shot and compare well to the skillfully lit and technically accomplished stills produced by the brilliant Scott Chalmers. But once again, as with all images on screen or in photos, their creation is a multi-faceted project with skills and talents from several directions. Model Dee's striking appearance is a culmination of all these factors and talents, and makeup that makes people look beautiful (in colour or in black and white) should be no more underestimated than makeup that makes people look demonstrably different from their "normal" appearance. In my career it's always been the special effects, prosthetics and injury makeups that have drawn the most responses from crew, presumably because they can "see it". When a beautiful woman walks on set, it's a real sense of achievement to receive a similar acknowledgement!

Makeup artistry is a highly skilled craft however and wherever it is being performed; on stage, in print or on screen, and the best thing about it is that your actor / model / artist has, for a few hours, actually become your living piece of art.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely piece .. couldn't have put it better myself!!! Thanks Sharon!! xx