The past weeks/months I was allowed to be part of the latest VISIONAIRE batch. VISIONAIRE offers classes/workshops for inworld photography. When I first told a few friends, that I am excited about VISIONAIRE, they asked me why I would want to go there. I would already do pictures for such a long time and as well, I would work with Photoshop and could do PS tutorials instead.
I tried to tell them, that I am working on my own for such a long time and that I kinda felt stuck in my own world with my pictures. I love going to schools and workshops and learn new things or even get pointed out some things that I might have forgotten over the time. I do not know how to describe it, but it is like even if you know things, you can forget about them so easy and with classes and workshops you get a sweet reminder. Sometimes you learn something, you cannot use it right away and then you forget about it, even if it would be very useful for something else. Sometimes you try things and you do not like it at all and feel overchallenged at the moment you practice, but after some time you might be able to work it out, but you forgot about. And in the end it is always great if you get some critique on your work, that most of the time will encourage you to try better in my view.
I was very excited when we met the first time – I nearly was nervous, because the classes were going to be in voice and I am always afraid, to not able to follow properly if it comes to technical terms and stuffs. Soon I realized, I am not the only non native speaker, which made it a little easier. When I started to cam around, I again got scared seeing some big names beside me and I nearly fell for the same weird question I was asked “What they are doing here, they are so good!” :p But since I had my own reasons to do the course, I scratched that thought quickly 😉
The classes, even if they took hours, were awesome. For many weeks, Sundays were completely dedicated to that chatty, funny and passionated people and I do not regret one minute. I have to admit, I felt strange sometimes and again the old discussion “it is because you are unique – it is because you are special” came up and I wanted to quit. I hate that term!!! There is times where you just want to be one of many and not the one, that stands out because of weird thoughts and craziness. I remember one Sunday, where we were supposed to look at pictures to find the spot in the picture, where our eyes where pulled at and then explain why. You start to get frustrated, if your eyes mostly get attracted by other things than the rest of the group sees…
I really had moments, where I thought I am just too stupid, or too weird to understand/see things. So I started to remain silent – Certainly Wren and Koko caught that and asked me why and told me that this would not be the solution. Since I am not a kid, I was aware of that and I tried to explain my problem. Wren was very understanding and I have to say she was so striving to calm me down and back into the ‘chat mode’. It took me a week to get back on track, but since we had fun homeworks all week, it was easy to step back into the group – they made it super easy for me too and did not even bring it up again.
Home work always sounds bad, but in case of VISIONAIRE they were amazing as the challenged me every week and go me out of my ‘same procedure like always’ mode, which kinda crept into my photography habit. It sometimes dragged me out if my comfort zone and made me re-think a lot of things not only technique wise, but as well composition wise 🙂
It was interesting to get critique and opinions for the home work every week. Sometimes I did not even think about things, that others saw in my pictures. Again the old term “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” made its point 🙂 Even the never ending story “Why this picture of mine got so many faves while the other – which I personally like so much more – got less likes” got touched and Koko had some very interesting ideas to that subject, which again gave me a new perspective – Did you ever think about, if you do pictures with male or female gaze, or what even would be the difference on that in terms of art and photography?
Another great part was the using of glow, lights and projectors. While I hate glow, I always liked using projectors and lights but I never was able to really use them to their full beauty. I normally used 1 or 2 lights or projectors, not thinking about the fact that I could have more to highlight certain parts of the body, even certain spots of the whole scenery. In the past lights and projectors were my personal “OMG that never does what it should” overchallenging situations and I usually gave up on them. BUT if you have a homework… you damn try :p.
In one of the classes, when our home work was to create a portrait. Linda Reddevil, did one being inspired by Flora Borsi. I saw some of her pictures already, but I never was familiar with that artist. When Linda brought her up, I googled again and was so impressed that I wanted to to a picture inspired by Flora Borsi.
It was luck, that to the same time Jian has their amazing flamingos at the FLF and so I took it as a sign and started to work on my idea. While I was doing the shoot, my mind went back to a subject we had at our VISIONAIRE meetings as well. A discussion about an ongoing trend in SL or on SL Flickr pictures – nudity. It seems if you throw and press your private parts into peoples faces, you get a lot of favorites on Flickr. I never was against nudity in arts in general, as long as it was done with class and not only or all of the time. There is much more, what can appeal sexy, than just simple show-offs in a crude way. Does it really have to show ‘everything’ all of them time? Is sometimes not just a basis idea the key to let the imagination fly? I remember very well a scene of movie, where people still going on about, if you see something or not. The interrogation scene in Basic Instinct, which is probably the most famous scene of that movie. The moment where Sharon Stone switching her one leg over the other, so many people did rewind that moment, to see if she would have panties on or not and we still do not know, because we saw… nothing, while the imagination was taking off.
Maybe it is because I am a German. I know it is not everywhere like this, but in Germany, if you strip naked on a public media source (internet, magazines, Youtube, etc.), you need back some more attention to your person. In 90% of the time it is done by people, who suffer from fading popularity or fading fame. Before they become an extinct star on the sky of fame, they do that as a last try to get back into social media and in the heads of the people. For a while it works, but it basically for most is just to protract, what anyways will come and they just win a certain period of time before it happens. That is one of the reasons, why I never even thought about having my boobies all over my Flickr, as well I never had the desire to share that with everyone, even if it is just pixels. To me nude does NOT have to be naked all the time 😉
With Flora Borsi in the back of my head, I started experimenting with my naked body and the flamingos, how I could show everything and nothing the same time. Since I even wanted to try again to draw hair, I even was bold. I only had changed my lashes to something unusual, while my whole body and head was completely nude and natural. They key was a pose I got from Falbala Fairey called “Crouched 6”. It previously was a gift for a store and now it is back in her own store for sale. With that pose and pushing the flamingos in the right position I only needed a pillow to sit on and I was done.
Drawing hair still is a huge, exciting and time consuming project for me and again I was not yet even close to be satisfied with what I tried, so I again did lend me some instant painted hair to work with from Rayne Morgan aka Nina Rosario (in SL), only added a few strands of my own on those spots, that did not quite fit to my pose or avatar shape and colored it to match the flamingos.
I had a lot of fun working on the concept and the pictures and I hope I did make sense with my words as well. I am not just a prude German, I just prefer artistic and tasteful nude over just blunt views on others private parts on social media 😉
Body: Maitreya – “Lara 4.1”
Head: LeLutka – “Simone 3.0”
Face: Izzie’s – “Pores & Blemishes” (LeLutka Applier)
Hair: Rayne Morgan (modified & complemented by me)
Lashes: Stardust – “Kira” (LeLutka Applier)
Pose: Fairey Poses – “Crouched 6”
Animals: JIAN – “Flamingo Collection”
Pillow: Le Poppycock – “Book Lovers – Tell Me a Story”
Model & Photographer: Wicca Merlin