Let me introduce you to my favourite alchemist, Renee Robyn, in this week’s Community Blog post. Be warned, there are swear words in this post.
RENEE. IS. FUCKING. AWESOME.
Seriously. She 100% inspires much of what I create. In fact, much of what I do I learned from her tutorials, or through other artists she works with.
I mean, can we be friends? Based on the images she creates, I think we have tons of similar interests! Wizards, witches, vikings, and just all-around badassery fills her feed. Show me more! She’s even from my hometown. And while she may be younger than me, it still gives me hope that I can make something of this.
In the last few blogs of my Community series, I’ve broken down what makes an image work. I’ve been enjoying this process. Understanding what makes something amazing can only help me become a better photographer. Even more so when you are studying how a composite artist makes her magic. So what can my favourite alchemist teach me just with her images?
Wizard. Need I say more? That’s awesome right there! OK, OK. Sticking a wizard somewhere will likely up the interest factor anywhere, but it takes some skill to make that wizard appear powerful. And Renee has done exactly that. So how did she do it?
I think a big part of it is the angle in which she shot this. I believe she shot the background separately from the model, but both have the same perspective. If you took a picture of the wizard shot upward and the background shot downward that might make for a mind-bending scene! Ha! That might be an interesting experiment! At any rate, this angle exaggerates the size of the wizard. Looking up at someone, and it does feel like you are looking up at him, often gives you a sense that they rank higher than you. So she’s used interpersonal power dynamics to tell you that he’s important.
Then of course he’s got fire and steel in hand, both deadly on their own. Anyone wielding them must be dangerous, right? Add to that, the ominous feeling of the dark and gloomy castle. The darkness appears to close in around the scene but the wizard’s torch beats back the shadows.
Another thing to note is her seamless use of colour. This is one thing that I find incredibly challenging. Matching colour among all the elements and remembering how the colour of the light should behave is so important when telling a believable story.
This witch is simply magnificent! The pose, in addition to the atmosphere, is what makes this one so magical. On the weekend I photographed my youngest and was attempting various poses with her hands, it’s hard! Renee nailed it with the hand placement and posing on this broom. And I love that she is looking away. I have a tendency to want my models (or myself) to engage with the camera. But as you can see with Renee’s image here, sometimes looking away tells a better story. Told this way, you are just a witness to the moment.
The costume in this image is fucking fabulous and just moved witchy sewing projects to the top of my list! The last witch costume I made was for my eldest daughter who is now in University. As Witchy as my family and friends say I am, I have not yet made myself a Witch Hat! Don’t worry, that’ll be rectified soon.
I love the red hair the model has. I wonder if her hair was actually red or Renee shifted it to suit the character. If she did, the colour is divine. It adds a nice firey element to the scene and speaks to the superstitions of red hair being a sign that you are a witch.
Finally, the mood is really set with fog and the rocks. As a whole, these things bring you into the scene and have you wondering what this witch is up to? Can I come along? Please, please, please?
Apparently, this one is still a Work In Progress, but I gotta say, I really love it. Renee has a whole series of these dangling mermaids, but this one is my favourite. I’m coming to appreciate the minimalist feel of images like this. The added fog provides a dreamy atmosphere that I enjoy a great deal. The model is both bound and exposed which feels both sensual and vulnerable. Such a powerful story told in such a simple way.
Renee has classes on CreativeLive, ProEdu, and the Alchemist’s Library As I mentioned earlier in this post, much of what I learned, I learned from her. She’s a Photoshop Masking wizard. Soft round brush bad! LOL. Here are a few images I made as a result of these lessons.