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Showing posts with label Vlad Sharktooth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vlad Sharktooth. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More Than Meets The Eye: The Work Of Vlad Sharktooth- Persia Bravin Reporting...

Vlad Sharktooth is not a man who is afraid of embracing a creative challenge. Over his eight years in Second Life, it’s fair to say that Vlad has gone from being a relatively low key photographer to an exceptionally creative force. A quick look through his flickr account rapidly tells you that this a man with a sharp eye for artistic detail; a creative soul with a penchant for perfectionism and a slightly edgy, self-assured and sensual style. But perhaps Vlad’s most impressive attributes are his less visual aspects, because his phenomenal personality, constant desire to hone his craft and genuine willingness to support other SL Photographers make him one of the most likeable characters in the SL photography community.

So how did Vlad start his photographic journey in Second Life? “Someone I knew a long time ago was starting to take pictures and when I told her I knew some photoshop from work, she asked me if I could help her,” remembers Vlad. “I then realized - when I tried SL photography - that it was a completely different thing, and it was extremely exciting to learn more about it at first…and after that, I discovered that it also allowed me to express myself in ways that I otherwise couldn't.”

That personal creative discovery has since set Vlad on the path of most artistic people: one of constantly trying out ideas, honing technique and developing a unique style - but it hasn’t always been easy for him, as he admits, “I remember starting out in flickr and Photoshop with SL photos and I remember how frustrating it can be at times - that never goes away! - and how clueless I was to some things. I also remember being a bit annoyed at times when I thought that maybe I had reached my peak and that's as good as I would get!”

Vlad’s understanding of the often painful creative process means that he is always responsive to others that are learning the SL photographic ropes. “I've had flickr mail from people that have felt similarly, so I'll always, always, do whatever I can to support people in whatever way I can,” he says generously, so what advice can he give to any fledging SL photographers – or those stuck firmly in a creative funk? “The best artists draw from their own experiences and if you think you just don't have anything exceptional to tell, you're probably wrong! Everyone has things that make them unique, things they have lived, things that they struggle with, maybe even by themselves.”

All artists – whatever their genre – will recognize that sense of struggle, but finding the inspiration for his photos doesn’t appear to be something that Vlad has to fight with. He regularly posts photos to his flickr account and his images always prove popular with his myriad of followers. Other things that make Vlad’s work stand out is the witty and insightful text he produces to accompany each photo (by his own admission – he enjoys a good rant), as well as a ‘soundtrack’ in the form of a YouTube song that he feels best illustrates each photograph.

“Usually I either have Spotify on shuffle all, YouTube on auto run, or one specific song on a loop,” he says, explaining how music motivates his work. “The first lands me on songs I know, which helps mix things up, the second... sometimes gets me to songs I hate or that make me cringe for one reason or another - not that they're bad - so it's always like a little Pandora’s box and the last one is when I’m set on a mood or specific song for a picture.”
As for the future, Vlad intends on creating more of his photos and is enjoying experimenting with creating different photo sets using items found in Second Life rather than created in Photoshop – even if it does cost him a small fortune playing the gacha machines in the hope of winning a specific piece. “If I see some set or furniture in SL that I like that has a theme, and I go and try to build something around it, granted, this method sometimes ends up with me spending a lot to get the set and then never using it because I forgot about it or procrastinated about it!” he says laughing.

None of us can create in isolation, so I ask Vlad if there is anyone he would like to thank for helping him – as he helps others. He thinks for a moment before replying: “I'd thank everyone that I have ever interacted with: from simple conversations, to all that believe in me, to those who trust me, to the people that help me when I need their opinion, to those that have inspired me, to the ones that are always there when I've needed someone, of course, to every victim that has ever had to endure the hardships of posing for and with me, to every person who I owe a picture, and lastly, to everyone that reads my writing or likes my pictures.  A tiny little piece of my heart belongs to each one of you.” And that is the essence of Vlad Sharktooth: creative, generous – but always grateful. Long may he continue.

Want to get started in SL photography or improve what you do? Here are Vlad’s top tips:

1: Watch, a lot, be it tutorial videos or SL tuition videos.Check out videos by SL photographers DaeberethwenArbenlow and Katey Coppola and others on YouTube. Also check out tutorials on sl photography, meaning windlights, projector lights, settings for DoF, shadows.

2: Don't compare your work to others, especially don't compare your work to people who have had years of practice, even if they don't keep their old pictures, or if they seemed to be that good from the start, always remember you are only seeing what they are comfortable with sharing, you don't see their failures or struggles, you only see the work they deem 'good enough'.

3: Don't be afraid to reach out if you need help, some will provide it, some won't. I’m always up for helping, but I know others might be less inclined to do so, don't let it phase you, it's not personal.

4: As Carrie Fisher once said: "Take your broken heart, make it into art." This goes for happy feelings as well, take your joy, sorrow, lust, convictions, etc., and explore them in pictures, don't just be someone who takes a random picture of the latest event, there are hundreds of those, and sooner or later, it gets old.