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Creating with Adrian Sommeling - August 31st, 2014

So I’ve been an Adrian Sommeling fan-girl for a while. His composite artwork totally kicks ass, and I’m constantly being inspired by the pure gold he frequently posts online. I remember the day I saw my Facebook tell me that he had accepted my friend request and I sat there staring at the screen wondering if it had lied to me and how the hell I was going to write a half-intelligent email that wasn’t going to make me sound like a complete weirdo. I guess I succeeded, because when Richard Terborg Photography decided to bring me out to Holland for a couple of classes, Adrian signed up to attend. I promptly chewed off half my fingernails and didn’t sleep that night.

In short, the workshop was a success (I’ll write about that in another post) and Adrian now had a step by step diagram on how I build my own artwork, and he extended the same courtesy in return. We began planning for an image that we would create together, but light, shoot, and retouch in his techniques. It turns out our processes couldn’t be more opposite, yet the way we think about creating our images is very similar. Pre-visualize the crap out of the shot, plan for the angles and lighting, and execute.

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Our plan was to use one of the background images he had shot in a magical library. It reminded me of something out of a fairy tale, the beautiful gold tones, stunning architecture and painted ceiling, and of course, thousands of books. Oodles of awesome points to the people who built it however many years ago, it’s breathtaking in a photograph, I hope one day to see it in person. However, one of the problems of living out of a suitcase like I have for the better part of 18 months is that the clothing choices fall into the categories of “functional” which translates for me into “stretchy, don’t wrinkle, dry fast, and black”. My clothes weren’t going to match this stunning background choice so we reached out to Skeletons in the Closet and Corsetry as we were already using her totally gorgeous designs for 2 of my classes.

The day of the shoot arrived, Richard and I showed up at my new favorite studio, the beautiful Studio34x where we displayed the outfit the designer had given us. We came up with the idea of having a witch in the library which would explain the fancy dress and Richard was going to be our second model being captured by magic attempting to escape the library. I felt like Belle prancing around in that fancy dress and corset. Even at my age now, I’m still in love with playing dress-up. The little girl in me always wanted to be a princess wearing fluffy dresses all day, but I’ve decided “happily ever after” is boring as hell and I’d mostly rather ride sportbikes in armored leather. I’ll weekend-warrior the princess instead.

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Adrian showed us how he does his magic with lighting and drawing out what he needs from his subjects. It was really something to watch, and if there is ever an opportunity to take a class from him, I highly recommend it. Watching Richard jump up and down to get the poses we were looking for was the hardest I’ve laughed in a long time. I was mentally making a check list of what would happen if he slipped and decimated his face on the pristine white infinity room, but his ninja reflexes saved me from having to execute any of the tasks on the list.

After the shooting part, we moved into Photoshop and I had to shut down the part of my brain that was freaking out about doing everything backwards from my normal process. It was great, and a welcome change. I think any creative should give their normal patterns a shot of cold water once in a while. It’s an amazing way to see things differently.


Renee's Brainchild

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Adrian’s mastery

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I can’t even say which one I like more because it’s completely irrelevant. There was no intent of anything beyond swapping a little bit of brain batter and perhaps pump a little rocket fuel into our love for creating art. The best that I’ve learned from all of this isn’t the techniques that he or anyone else is using, it’s who they are that’s so inspiring. How the desire to make fancy pixels can bring people together from opposite parts of the world. There’s no competition, no secrets, only a happy companionship that comes from being a creative and being like-minded human beings. It’s like being stuffed into the worlds biggest fluffy blanket with kittens and puppies and other soft happy shit everywhere. I’m so in love with the creative industry and some of the people who dwell there. It’s not always an easy life, but days like those are part of what make it all worthwhile.

Kick ass behind the scenes photographs by Richard Terborg Photography and Micha Posthumus

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