|“Out of my depth"|
An in depth interview with Second Life Photographer Serenitee Bliss
Serenitee Bliss, also known as Seren, is a virtual artist whose snapshots seem to be a windswept tour of the art and architecture of Second Life. With locations that range from the Burlesque stage to mystical surreal forests to the ocean floor, Seren seems to be capturing slices of Second Life that can best be described as an unbridled exhibition of the intimate. I was fortunate to have a chance to interview Seren.
Dean : Could you tell me a little about yourself?
Seren : Second Life is my creative niche. Looking for that right light, that right angle, panning slowly around to find that breathtaking capture that instantly creates a story in the mind. I started out playing with portrait style photos taken in a small studio. That became limiting for me. I enjoyed capturing the movement, shadows, little environmental nuances. Most of my free time is spent in search of beautiful places in Second Life.
Dean : I was intrigued by the avatar that is the subject for your snapshot titled “taking-the-ole-girls-out-for-a-bit” The reason why I ask about this avatar in particular is that the tendency of most SL photographers is to create images revolving around glamorous and physically perfect models. For me this particular snapshot stands out because the avatar comes across as very human with her less than perfect appearance. Could you tell me why you chose this avatar as the subject of your snapshot?
Seren : I am delighted you noticed this photo! It started out a bit of a prank at first. Friends and I were going out to one of the more "pretty" clubs. Women looking like perfection. I think I was in a rather cynical mood that day so decided to go as "Minnie", my name for her. I was thinking that being dressed in that manner, would keep me from being noticed as much...therefore confirming that others really only talk to "perfect" avies. Oddly enough, it made quite a few smile...so I started taking pictures of her. The more I looked at her, the more she became a personality to me. I love her smile and when I'm out and about in her form, it's this carefree feeling. She's not perfect by any means, but she has a loving presence that is heartwarming to me.
|Taking the ole girls our for a bit|
Dean : The stage seems to be a common theme in your work, could you tell me about the series of snapshots featuring Clyde Barrow, Pinkie, Lady C, Miss Bathory, Klarissa and Samantha?
Seren : I have assisted friends with photography for new clubs. Pinkie, is actually another form of myself. A promotional picture taken for Le Theatre de la Debauche. Clyde Barrow was also a performer there so I was taking pictures that evening. The others, were all dancers from another new venue, The Main Event Show lounge. I perform with the Starlite Dancers, so often venture out to see other dance troupes. It's like a small community of those a love for dance and performing. We tend to go out and support one another.
Dean : Several of your snapshots feature avatars in interesting poses, wearing realistic looking clothes and in locations with detailed textures, the snapshot “Playing with the wind” which you use as your profile picture comes to mind, but this is something that I find to be consistent with all your work. How much thought do you put into matching the avatar’s ensemble with the background?
Seren : I give little thought before going out to take photos. When I started taking photos, I wanted to control all aspects of the photos. Spend hours looking for the right outfit, perfect hair, the perfect props. I didn't go out and about as much as I did studio photos with textures for backgrounds. In the case of "Playing with the Wind", I was simply out exploring and came upon a set of poses that caught my attention. The clouds on the sim were moving and I had just the right hair, so started taking photos. I wish I could say there was more to it than that, but it's mostly me, looking around, seeing what the environment offers, what kind of stories I can create with the images.
Dean : Is there any post processing of your images with gimp or photoshop? If so what effects do you ad to the snapshots? If not, what recommendations would you make to a novice Second Life photographer to help them achieve the same level of quality demonstrated by snapshots such as “Out of my depth”, "Heart A’flutter” and “Poetic Art"
Seren : I send most of my photos from Second Life directly to my Flickr account. I like to try and avoid any post processing. I start with using the Advanced Lighting settings in my viewer along with the Windlights. I'm able to run my computer on ultimate settings graphics wise, so that gives me more freedom. I recently purchased a LumiPro system which is wonderful for positioning models and adding additional lighting options. When I do edit my photos, I use the tools embedded in Flickr and/or Ipiccy. The three photos you mentioned were done with minimal editing. "Out of my depth" and "Heart a "flutter" had only a softening filter added to them. "Poetic Art", I added a text overlay of poetry I had written.
Advice, hmmm....patience, look from all angles, try all the Windlights...but mostly, take lots and lots of pictures!
Dean : Were the snapshots “It was …. a peculiar dream…” and “Have you ever seen a more ‘angelic’ group?” captured on a pre-existing sim or do you have a studio where you specifically design sets for your snapshots?
Seren : "It was...a peculiar dream" was taken at a place called Two fish Too, a whimsical sim. The other photo taken at Basilique, another wonderful sim for taking pictures. That particular photo was from a play called "Paradise Lost", presented on the Basilique sim. I have a studio off and on depending on what kinds of photos I am obsessing about at the given time. Mostly though, I love going out to find my picture stories.
|It was... a Peculiar Dream...|
Dean : Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
Seren : Anything else about me, let's see. I've been in Second Life a very long time. It's creative boundaries seem never ending, thus keeping me entertained and tapping into my own creativity. Thank you, for this awesome opportunity to share a little bit of me with your readers.
Links to my work in world:
Windlight Art Gallery (Through Sept. first week in Oct.)
The Artinis Gallery
Links to my work outside of Second Life: