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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

SNAP and DASH - Dean Lawson Reporting

An in depth interview with Second Life Artist Thea Dreem

The artist known as Thea Dreem has been traveling Second Life since September 27, 2014, originally as her alter ego, Caelin8. By her own admission, her first photos where selfies in which she was "crashing houses" and taking pictures of herself drinking and stealing other people's yachts. I had the good fortune to interview this Second Life griefer before the authorities track her down. 

Dean : What intrigues you about Second Life?

Thea : At the moment I'm intrigued by galleries - everything from building them to filling them with photos and planning parties to show them off. I joined a couple of friends to form an art cooperative and we're opening in a couple of weeks. I'm perhaps not as interested in the business side of the art gallery scene, but I'm having fun and that's what it's about for me. In general I'm intrigued by exceptional craftsmanship and beautiful quality work, in every area of Second Life. I really want to learn to create content that meets the standards I've acquired since joining one year ago, so I'll be studying Blender forever! Of course, I love SL photography and am working hard to improve my skills. It's all about having fun, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and striving to be a contributor in the SL community.

Dean : How did you first get involved with SL photography?

Thea : The snapshot tool was the first thing that I "picked up" after figuring out how to get around the grid. I took a lot of very small, very flat photos of myself crashing houses and just doing things I had no business doing because I didn't understand that this isn't a game where all the content is provided by the game creator for everyone's amusement. I deleted evidence of my crimes, of course. Later I started a travel blog with a photography-emphasis theme because I loved reading SL travel blogs - still do! From that I made the acquaintance of a writer at Windlight Magazine who encouraged me to apply for a Windlight Gallery Fellowship. I just wrapped up that exhibit and it was a great experience! So really I'm just starting out.

Dean : I found the series of snapshots titled "Obedience - the binding of Isaac" very compelling, could you tell me about how you came up with the concept and the process of producing these images?

Thea : Well, the concept was simply to chronicle the work of the creator, Bryn Oh. The setting, the lighting, the sculpture, story, all of it was so compelling, all I had to do was snap. I couldn't imagine changing a thing. Great artists and creators make my job easy. My choice of angles, the scenes that made me stop and absorb them deeply to find a point of view that framed the theme perfectly for me was my contribution. When I photograph an artist's work I try to honor their vision by using the region windlights as often as possible. However, if my intention is to photograph something editorial using the artist's build as a backdrop, I will play with windlight settings, depth of field, push and pull all the sliders and spend hours trying to tell a story. Mostly I stay behind the camera and focus on the build.

Dean : Is there anything you would like the readers of the SL Enquirer to know about you or your work?

Thea : It's a work in progress! I just finished the Fall semester at Visionaire Institute for photography and my graduation exhibit will be opening in a few weeks. As mentioned earlier, my friends and I will be opening our art cooperative around the same time. In the meantime, I'm showing my work in world at Burnsey's Gallery 

A year ago I wouldn't have imagined that my Second Life would take this direction; I came here not knowing what it was, or how much good it would do me as a creative outlet. I've blogged in the past, written poetry and fiction, and dabbled in photography, but what I'm learning to do in Second Life is the most fun I've ever had in the realm of online social networking. My goal is to have a LEA grant this time next year and expand my artistic expression to create something I would want to take pictures of today. I've said it publicly, so now I have to do it!

You can see Thea's photos on Flickr at

She also writes a blog about life and travel at


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