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Writer, director, and performer Alejandra Smits on what being a multidisciplinary artist means in 2021

By Alma Fabiani

Mar 19, 2021

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In recent years, ‘multidisciplinary artist’ has become somewhat of a buzzword, used by many as a catch-all term meant to help redefine what can really be described as the act of blindly dabbling in everything. As a result, many of us have forgotten what it truly is like to be a multidisciplinary artist in 2021’s digital age, as well as the amount of work, planning and creativity it takes to gracefully mix digital with real-life art. Fear no more, because we managed to speak to one of the real ones out there, writer, director, and performer Alejandra Smits, about publishing her second poetry book while simultaneously maintaining her already impressive career in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Makeup artist May Tahmina Akhtar teaches us how to capture colourful and simple makeup looks

As part of our partnership with Huawei and its global smartphone photography competition Next-Image awards 2020, May Tahmina Akhtar responds to the ‘Faces’ category as she invites us into her world of portraiture and helps us understand what goes on behind the scenes of capturing a captivating portrait using a smartphone.

British-Bengali Akhtar, a Manchester-based creative, content creator and makeup artist, uses her face as a canvas as she experiments with her own history and upbringing—unafraid to show her true self in a whole new way, while unpacking what the Positive Power of Creativity means to her.

Faces: Akhtar tells us how portraiture helped her find her true self

“I loved the freedom of the category and being able to express myself. My inspiration was me. I’m really working towards having a type of work that screams me and I really think the look I did is a combination of the overall looks I love doing. It shows technique but also paints a picture of my culture and heritage!”

For Akhtar, photography has become an integral part of her work. By using the Huawei P40 Pro to film and photograph her makeup look, she draws from past experiences to inspire others in finding their own identity and to highlight the power creativity can have. Documenting her styles allows Akhtar to not only better her craft but also share her talent with the world. Using the phone’s camera features, such capturing her images using the 32MP Dual View selfie camera and in the Super Resolution RAW format, Akhtar was able to depict her face and the makeup look she created for her submitted images in a resolution like no other, showcasing the intricate little details that make her face; her identity unique: “I was able to highlight the details that made this look so special for who I am, and for my identity.”

Makeup artist May Tahmina Akhtar teaches us how to capture colourful and simple makeup looks

Do you have a powerful portrait to share? Submit pictures of your creations taken on your Huawei smartphone to the Huawei Next-Image awards 2020 for a chance to win a creation fund of up to $10,000 USD.

The power of photography and video in Akhtar’s career

After dropping out of her integrated masters and while waiting for different courses to start, Akhtar focused her attention on makeup, amassing over 40,000 followers across social media by posting simple and aesthetically pleasing makeup videos and photographs that encouraged more people to reflect on their heritage, their individualism and their creativity in unique ways. Akhtar sent out a clear message to her followers: you can do this too.

Akhtar saw her opportunity to further her approach to makeup while also redefining her British-Bengali origins: “I used to think makeup was boring and everyone did the same thing. But since finding the editorial side of it on social media and seeing the artistry behind it and how different people’s style of makeup was, I began to do simple but graphic liner looks to express my style in a way modest clothing sometimes couldn’t!”

What are the steps to capturing simple yet powerful makeup looks?

With the power of photography at our fingertips, capturing unique portraits is something each and every one of us can do. As Akhtar says, “Makeup is so free—you can do whatever you feel like doing.”

To achieve and capture makeup looks as cheerful and fun as Akhtar’s, experimentation is key. Faces are unique to each and every one of us, and the real power lies in the ability to celebrate our differences. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as you can make a look out of it or run it out—it’s not the end of the world!” explains Akhtar. Using the Huawei P40 Pro’s Field-of-view fusion zoom has allowed Akhtar to capture her own interpretation of self-portraiture, adding her own mark on her ideas of faces, beauty and portraiture.

Last tip from the pro? Always remember that, whatever you decide to create, it is by capturing your creativity that you will make it stand out. Whether in makeup or in photography, “use your face as a canvas.”

Makeup artist May Tahmina Akhtar teaches us how to capture colourful and simple makeup looks

Akhtar uses makeup to share her culture and heritage through captivating portraits. What will you share about you? We want to know! Create your own narrative using your Huawei smartphone and submit your image to the Huawei Next-Image awards 2020 for a chance to win a creation fund of up to $10,000 USD.

Makeup artist May Tahmina Akhtar teaches us how to capture colourful and simple makeup looks


By Screen Shot

Jul 6, 2020

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