Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Anna Baldwin, an incredibly talented make-up artist based in Bridgend, Bridgend County, Wales.
Hi Anna, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. We should probably start at the beginning...when and how did you come about getting into photographic make-up?
"I never originally set out to have a career in makeup. I grew up with ambition to be a fashion designer.
After studying for a degree in fashion design and working in the fashion industry for a few years I later went on to do teacher training, teaching art and textiles at secondary school level but after I gave birth to my son in 2011, I decided I needed a career which allowed me to be flexible with my working hours whilst still being able to use my creative flair.
I had always been a keen makeup enthusiast and often my friends and family would ask me to do their makeup for them too which I enjoyed so it made sense for me to train as a makeup artist.
I went on to train at The London School of Makeup and from there started to work on photoshoots with my sister who is a photographer."
Photography and it's related skills, as with most things, can have it's share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of your craft particularly challenging?
"Confidence for me is also an issue. I find people compare themselves to others too much. But I think it's important to remember that we are learning all the time....no one is perfect not even the pros! Trends change, new products come out so we constantly have to update ourselves with the industry. Everything is a learning curve, but you can only get better with practice and experience."
Most things, especially online, tend to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views an something to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?
"I like to think that my work has a distinct style. I have been known for my use of colour and many people book me for this particular aspect of my work.
I love anything that's colourful, sparkly or embellished. I often like to mix my eye shadows and pigments just as an artist would mix their paints to create new colours or simply to see how one colour would blend with another.
We know that colour stimulates our brain. When we view a piece of art, we take it in through the colours we see because they invoke within us certain emotions, making the claim that everyone sees it differently a reality.
To me makeup is not just about making a woman look beautiful but about creating a work of art. The face is my canvas. That is the reason why I chose to specialise in photographic makeup as opposed to commercial makeup artistry."
In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?
"As I work full time as a makeup artist I'm constantly researching and finding inspiration for new projects so to keep my work fresh.
Most of my inspiration comes from my love of art, nature, travel and fashion; often taking inspiration from the catwalk.
I love following the work of other makeup artists too such as Alex Box, Val Garland and Pat McGrath. If I ever became half as talented and successful as these artists I would die a happy woman!"
Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?
"I have many images that are quite special to me, especially photographs of my son who inspires me everyday to be better.
But if I had to pick an image related to my work, it's probably an image from the first time I worked backstage at London Fashion Week. I had spent many years in university tearing out pictures from Vogue of the catwalk shows for my work, but when you eventually see your own work featured on the catwalk the feeling is just amazing, even though it's just the makeup that's mine and not the outfits it's still equally a very proud moment."
Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in on a shoot?
"One of the first photoshoots I ever done on purpleport was a location shoot on a beach. So as it was nice sunny day and the middle of summer I thought I would wear my sandals. We did the shoot and on the way back we walked up this pebbled cliff to get to the car. As we were walking up I caught the strap of my shoe and it snapped off. So I had to walk all the way to the top with one shoe on!! When we got to the car, the model kindly let me borrow a pair of her shoes. For the remainder of the shoot I had a pair of size 7 shoes on my tiny size 3 feet...I did look quite ridiculous and the photographer and model both found it hilarious.
Then to make make matters worse a few weeks later I had another shoot with the same photographer. Again I had a different pair of sandals on. Just as I went to step off the train, some idiot stood on the back of my shoe and when I lifted my foot up I snapped the ankle strap!! I had to turn up to the photographers house with one shoe on!! I don't think he quite believed it when he saw me with my one shoe on again. So every time we shoot together now it's become a bit of a joke, he always says...have you got sensible footwear on today?...oohh look you have two shoes!!"
We've talked about your start, we've talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? any special projects? And in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?
"I'm trying to focus this year by ticking off all the models and photographers on my bucket list. In May I'm going up North for a few days to work and then June I'm working with some photographers down South. So I have some awesome shoots lined up with some amazing photographers and models over the next few months that I'm so excited to share.
I'm also continually working back and forth in London too, so much so that I've been looking at property in London with the prospect of moving there this year, well that's the plan anyway if not this year then sometime in the new year.
My career focus this year is to continue to work on my portfolio to a high standard so that hopefully one day I can get signed by an agency and go under PR management, so that I have the opportunity to work on some amazing projects and get the chance to do some celebrity work too."
When I speak to photographers I ask about their gear, it's only fair you get to geek out too...what's your go to products/brands you can't live without?
"There's a few items in my kit I can't live without, this includes MAC Fix+ spray, strobe cream and cream colour base as a highlighter, Illamasqua's hydra veil primer and gel sculpt contour stick and my Nars bronzer in the shade Laguna and Nars blusher in the shade orgasm. These are my go to items for a flawless complexion."
Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?
Model Mayhem: http://modelmayhem.com/3711522
I'd like to thank Anna again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all of the links for more of her work.
Images used with the permission of the photographers. Links to creatives involved, in order of appearance: Photographer: Jake Hicks Model: Sinopa Rin, Photographer: Laura Jane Model: Arabella, Photographer: Laura Jane Model: Scarlett Fox, Photographer: Laura Jane Model: Heather May Corvid, Photographer: Regardez-Moi Model: Jaimee Rae, Photographer: Laura Jane Model: Alisa Rae.