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Making Faces, Playing God: Identity and the Art of Transformational Make-up [Paperback]

Thomas Morawetz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £25.99
Price: £25.22 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Aug 2001
Wearing a mask - putting on another face - embodies a fundamental human fantasy of inhabiting other bodies and experiencing other lives. In this extensively illustrated book, Thomas Morawetz explores how the creation of transformational makeup for theatre, movies, and television fulfills this fantasy of self-transformation and satisfies the human desire to become "the other." Morawetz begins by discussing the cultural role of fantasies of transformation and what these fantasies reveal about questions of personal identity. He next turns to professional makeup artists and describes their background, training, careers, and especially the techniques they use to create their art. Then, with numerous before-during-and-after photos of transformational makeups from popular and little-known shows and movies, ads, and artist's demos and portfolios, he reveals the art and imagination that go into six kinds of mask-making-representing demons, depicting aliens, inventing disguises, transforming actors into different (older, heavier, disfigured) versions of themselves, and creating historical or mythological characters. Thomas Morawetz, Tapping Reeve Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Connecticut School of Law, writes avocationally on modern literature, non-fiction, mysteries, and movies. His interest in movie-making extends over thirty-five years.

Frequently Bought Together

Making Faces, Playing God: Identity and the Art of Transformational Make-up + A Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup (Tokyo Sfx Makeup Workshop) + Special Makeup Effects for Stage and Screen: Making and Applying Prosthetics
Price For All Three: £71.10

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Product details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (25 Aug 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292752474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292752474
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 18 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This book is entirely unique, very well written, dramatic, and, at the same time, philosophical. It is likely to appeal to a very large audience, including anybody interested in the visual arts, in film, in theater, in philosophical problems of transformation, and in the unconscious generally." -Melvin R. Lansky, M.D., UCLA Medical School and Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Institute

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great pics! 28 Nov 2004
By A Customer
I brought this book to get an insight into the world of transformational make-up. The pictures are great and the make-ups are truly amazing. The text content of this book is a bit too in depth for me at the moment, However in the future when i have some more experience in the make-up industry I will get it out and give it another go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! 6 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a makeup student I highly recommend this book to those interested in prosthetics, particularly horror makeup. It gives great reference for essays and developmental work. There are brilliant photos, some of which so the development and application processes used within well know films. There is also some theory in there which is a great starting point for exploring topics such as fear,demonic characters, makeup transformation, character design and application. Definitely buy this book if you are studying a prosthetic based course as it will prove very useful indeed!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at appearance and identity 8 Jan 2002
By Mark Stanley - Published on
I'm a fan of several actors who have performed in prosthetics, and I was extremely excited to find this book. The psychology of physical transformation fascinates me.
The author intelligently explores the role of physical transformation in myths and fiction and how we as an audience and a society view transformation, willing and unwilling. He also shows the practical and psychological side of actually designing, applying, and wearing transformative makeup. He explores several different aspects of makeup artistry, and how each of these transformations affects the audience and the performer.
Some of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the exploration of willing versus unwilling transformation fantasies -- the horror of looking into the mirror one morning and seeing a giant cockroach, as opposed to the fantasy of shapeshifting at will, escaping consequences, seeing how people treat you when you're wearing another face.
He touches on this last part from the actor's perspective as well -- imagine the psychological effect of working with fellow actors and crew who never see your real face, who wouldn't recognise you if they saw you out of makeup. I've heard actors speak about this disconcerting feeling, and it's one of the most interesting aspects of prosthetic acting, in my opinion.
I was hoping for more exploration of the effect of prosthetics on the actor, and the craft of performing in prosthetics, rather than this book's true focus on the audience, and by extension, society. But the questions this book raised had me talking incessantly for a week, to anyone who would listen.
It costs more money than I'd usually feel good about spending, but in this case I think it's worth it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celluloid Illusions 7 Jan 2003
By "fariss16" - Published on
Anyone with an interest in the field of makeup SPX will find and gain knowledge that this book offers.Every page is a joy.You'll read each article again and again unlocking unlimited possibilities towards gaining your own personal goals.This book alone will give encouragement and birth to future artists in this field.Need I say more,you must add this book to your library.It's a must and seeing is believeing.*Don't give it a second thought!*
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not what I thought it was going to be 13 Dec 2007
By Laura A. Shears - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought this book was going to give some suggestions on the how to make the faces but instead it focused on the psycology of the art of making faces. It has a lot of good images, but no advice on how to do this kind of special affects makeup. I guess I need to just chalk it up as a lesson learned to read the descriptions better before I buy.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Making Faces.... 19 July 2005
By William Morse - Published on
In general, I like the more "philosophical" approach used by the author with this subject matter. However, I expected a more pragmatic "how to" kind of context to the material. I don't begrudge the aforementioned theoretical or "romantic" substance--but, I feel it's a bit erudite and a trifle cloying. Yes, those elements exist at some level for some practitioners of this craft--but, in the day-to-day context of professionals in this field, such matters are left to artistic "post-mortems" long after the project has been completed (and in the framework of an interview for an overzealous academician preparing a new source book). This is more fitting to a solely theoretical-approach college classroom teaching theatre appreciation rather than an applied, "hands-on" studio approach.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent treatise 13 May 2008
By MakeupMaster - Published on
Nowhere in the description of this book do I find the words "how to". Any commentary about this book strictly points out that it is, in fact, a philosopical approach to the makeup art and the study of the psychology and theory of using the products, techniques and craft of creating faces. I found it neither erudite nor in the least cloying as one reviewer puts it so eloquently. Then I have to wonder if that reviewer's commentary is not a trifle erudite in his opinion. What I found was an interesting treatise on the psychology and okay, "romantic" elements of creating faces, if one reviewer wants to call it that. Perhaps it was a bit too philosophical for the reviewer who apparently WANTED a "how to" book but who apparently didn't read that this is not what this treatise was all about. It does contain a wealth of examples and a few simplified views of makeup or prosthetic work being applied and plenty of finished product views as well. And for the price, in my opinion, it wasn't a bad buy. I have many, many well known books in my library which do address the "how to" side of creating faces such as displayed here. And as a makeup artist for nearing 50 years, plus being a student of a course by an Academy Award Winning makeup artist, I am totally aware that "how to" books, while fun to read and look at are tools - but limited tools. The best teacher of "how to" is TO DO it and learn as you go. Most every successful makeup artist working today has learned "on the job" and in the view of most successful makeup artists, is the best school there is. Some of these "how to" books are good, some not so good, some decidedly poor in content. But if the reviewer wants a "how to" then may I suggest DOING the work and learning that way. Of course, having a mentor or someone with whom one can work and from whom one can learn is always a plus - but it still means HANDS ON. And while this isn't a "how to" book, it neither makes any claim to be. But it is a valuable tool in the arsenal of any qualified, experienced and thoughtful makeup artist. I recommend it highly. But maybe then I'm a bit too erudite and like my "how to" books a trifle cloying in their content. Sigh!!
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