13 August 2010

Strangely-Oneiric, Interview

"Art is a lie, which makes us realize the truth."
- Picasso
"Sometimes I Do Wear Clothes",
Model/Photographer: Strangely-Oneiric

Much has been said on this blog regarding virtual friendships, relationships, and communities. The online communications and social media has uniquely redefined how we meet, relate, and thus choose who our friends are. Being a child of both worlds, the other being the more physical in nature, I sometimes struggle with the dichotomy of these relationships. Some people I have never met have become dear friends or people I have simply come to admire. Therein lies my struggle because in most cases, I am not content for the relationship to remain virtual. Such is the case with this lovely model whom I have come to admire from the galleries of deviantArt. I feel like I must needs have her in front of my lens. She goes by the handle, Strangely-Oneiric and is the epitome of my kind of model. I love the shapes and the movement. I normally do no post images that I don't personally take on this blog, but I chose to make an exception here. Honestly, it was her face in the above image that captured my attention. Just browsing through the art nude galleries one day, I came across this thumbnail and was intrigued. The rest is history. I gotta shoot this girl.

(Let me interrupt for a second and throw out this caveat. This is not to say every other model I've worked with are any less satisfactory to me, so no offense should be taken of any kind with my reference to "epitome of my kind of model". You already know I can be flattering at times, so let me just talk about this girl with the hopes that you appreciate her as much as I do.)

"How Could You Know"
I like that fact that she's a simple girl. She's not the perfect model that you'd find on the cover or centerfold of a major editorial. She doesn't try to be and she loves herself the way she is. That's probably the first thing I respect. In one of her journals, I saw a quote where she said, "I always prefer to photograph those that do not have perfect bodies. I feel as though we see enough of the stick-thin models in the media." She started this adventure of self-discovery and has been evolving it as she goes. She is both model and photographer and often uses lyrics as descriptions of each image. Her images are as much of a chronicle of how she feels, her moods, and what's on her mind, as any one else's verbal descriptions might be. This is her journey and she travels it with honesty about who she is, why she does it, and holds no attachments past its inevitable end. When the journey/experiment is done, she'll let go. So, I'll just appreciate her gifts while they last.

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"But I Wasn't Concentrating"
1) So how long have you been doing this model/photographer thing? How does it correlate to your art studies? 
I previously had a different site here on dA, that would have been 2 years ago (so 2008-2009). I acquired a decent fan base, though nothing in comparison to what I have now. After a period of time, I closed the account, just lost interest in continuing the site, maybe even became slightly self-conscience to have such a practice. I began again afresh a little more than a year ago on the site I currently have. I began partly for something to do, and partly because I wanted to create beautiful images with my body; Or if not beautiful, provocative. 

"These Arms"
2) How exactly did you get started and how did you come to use the name Strangely-Oneiric? What’s its significance? (I had to look up oneiric. Now I have to find a context to use it!) 
How did I get started? Well, it’s not an exciting story. I decided to start one day and I did. I don’t remember it real vividly. I have limited technical abilities (especially when I first started with my little point and shoot), so I would try to time it right to have good natural lighting that I could "bathe" in. I have much more success with getting good images when I start with good lighting. 


On my previous dA site, my favorite image was one where I had a backlight behind me and was hold a beautiful veil like material in front of me. People noted how dreamlike it was. So when I began again, I felt that should be my starting point--this very vague, cryptic, dreamlike feeling where you're getting bits and pieces of a larger, though somewhat strange story. Because I feel this is a very strange story--to see or be told only the most vulnerable, intimate part of this exposed woman. "Strange dreams" doesn't have any ring to it. So I brainstormed other words I knew to be "dreamlike." Oneiric came to mind (good old vocab words from who knows when coming to the surface). And there the alias was born. 

3) What are your feelings on nudes or nudity in general? Is it reflective of your lifestyle? What makes you so comfortable with your body? 

I personally am very comfortable with my body (usually) but I understand this is not true for everyone. As a result, I don't go walking around my house in my underwear and certainly not in public. Also, taking pictures and posting them on a site where you know no one and vice versa, very different than if I hung these up in my living room. As it is, I don't feel very brave to be posting under this alias. 


"Tired of the Routine"
4) What about role models or people inspire you as a photog and as a model? 
I have to admit I didn't begin with an inspiration and still don't have one. I just post what I feel. 

5) You previously wrote a post stating your goal is to allow images to be your expression where words were insufficient. I really like that, btw. What exactly is it that you are trying to articulate with your photos? 
Well the photos are a visual journal to me, at least some of them. I can remember very clearly how I was feeling when I took, "Beautiful, I guess" for example, though I don't remember why I felt that way. But it speaks to me to be able to look back and see that raw emotion, feel it again in a sense. What am I trying to articulate? Well I never know in the moment. I just take images that usually express what I'm feeling that moment, though sometimes the images are just something I've had in my head for a while and then truly pose for. So hopefully each image articulates something a little different. 


"A Scene Begins"
6) What makes self-portrait nudes so appealing to you? How did you decide to go there? Do you think you’ll begin photographing nudes other than yourself? 
No, I don't think I'll be photographing nudes other than myself. I tried this once with some friends. We all got all giddy being naked with one another. Got a couple great shots of two friends laughing hysterically together, but we never repeated the shoot. And now I've lost touch with them. It's strangely hard to find people willing to do this. And I don't ask around much. This is my thing. Self-portraits in general are appealing to me for a few reasons. One, I don't have to work around other people's schedules when I want to shoot. Two, to toot my own horn, I know I'm decently photogenic. Few of my friends are. Three, it's a bit therapeutic.

I like to do them in the nude for a few simple reasons: I don't have to worry about color schemes in clothes. One less thing to think about. Also, it's instantly more raw and intimate to do a photo nude. More humane. More timeless. We will always have our bodies. Finally, for my own amusement of seeing my undulating weight patterns and how my body proportions change as a result. (also, it’s interesting to see when others notice this, though few have noted it) 


"Death on a Sunny Road"

7) I saw that you were reading a book called, “My Name is Asher Lev”, by Chaim Potok. You mentioned that it opens with a quote by Picasso, “Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth”. What does it mean to you? 
Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth. This parallels to my images in that, well they are not real life. Or they do not show a full "picture," the full story. They freeze a moment, and in my case a staged moment or one that was manipulated and forced to the surface, and there it stays. And then we draw from these moments and realize something… Perhaps the truth. 

8) You don’t have to reveal your true age, but I’m guessing you’re not older than 22…23 max. How does a young woman learn to close a chapter in her life, as you mentioned in your journal, so early? Has modeling taught you any life lessons? 
"How You Laughed"
There have been various guesses on my age, though never over 24. Anywhere in the 20s I'll take as a fair guess. How do you learn to close a chapter of your life? You channel your energy and emotions somewhere new and then move forward. So maybe you never close a chapter, but you can begin a new one. Has modeling taught me anything? If it has, I have yet to realize it. I think modeling with another person where we have to communicate with one another what our visions are in the moment would be a very telling exercise. But modeling for myself eliminates this communication. So it isn't really a growing experience, though you do learn how to do it "better."

9) How have you changed since you first began photographing yourself?
I suppose I've become more aware of my sexuality and feminity. Other changes I would attribute to general life growth/progression, though, not because of modeling. 

10) You have a fairly decent fan-base. How do you think they have grown so quickly? Why do you feel they come back? Do you feel any sense of responsibility to them now? 

"Nobody Knows"
I have built up a decent set of followers since starting here on dA. It is certainly an unexpected, though certainly not unwelcome occurrence. It certainly seems to grow exponentially the longer I have a site--maybe because I show up higher in the popular searches now. I'm not sure exactly what the key is to "success" here on dA. It helps to have a jump start of an image that's somewhat explicit or provocative; your numbers go up real fast. I believe I started getting more attention after posting, "Nobody Knows." To get people coming back, it seems to be this honesty that everyone sees. I'm not sure what exactly that looks like or how that comes across; I just take pictures and post ones that I like. It's really that simple. When I first started posting to this gallery, I was very concerned about making it "artistic" not pornographic. So then I put a lot of thought into more interesting poses, angles, composition, etc. (A few months ago, I randomly went on an image purge to "clean up my gallery" a bit, so much of this experimentation is now lost.) Then as I started establishing myself more, getting more affirmation, and just caring less, I now think less of that and just take images. Or maybe it’s because my more racy images have been so well received as nude art.

Do I really responsibility to my "fans" now? Well, I suppose this is the wrong thing to say, but no, not really. There are so many artists here on dA, if I stopped posting people would be sad for all of like one day and then we'd all move on and then we'd all move on with our lives. 


11) What would you say are your most challenging issues or concerns as a photog/model? 
Being that this isn't a career for me or even a serious pursuit, I can't say it's really that challenging or concerning of a hobby typically. I do it for my own amusement and enjoyment; when it loses that air, then I'll stop. Security issues are definitely in the back of my mind just because that is so out of my control and I probably won't ever know if my work is/has been misused or sold for pornographic purposes and such. 

12) You range from images that are relatively benign in nature to some that are more explicit. How do you decide how racy your images will be when you decide to shoot? Is it a mood? Do you alternate benign one week and explicit the next? What boundaries do you set for yourself? 

"This Low"
Boundaries? System? Planned out thought? Negative. You are giving me too much credit. If I have a stretch of time to myself and happen to see good lighting, I might say to myself, "Hey, I should get out my camera." And then I try to take photos that will document how I'm currently feeling that day. If they were posed/planned out, I think I would get in a rut of what kind of images to post. I suppose if I had to name a boundary is that I like to post things that have some beauty in them, in whatever way that may be. Sometimes I see an image that I kind of like, though I feel it didn't quite hit the mark. And then I do an iteration of that at another date. I did this with "Nobody Knows" as well as "This Low." In fact, "This Low" I'm still not satisfied with. At some point, I still hope to redo that one, really nail it. That one would be so much easier to take not by myself though...I can never get the angle that I see in my head. But then how on earth would I communicate this faint image in my head to another photographer. To hand over your vision is to compromise much of it between yourselves. 

13) Would it bother you if someone suggested your work was pornographic rather than art erotica?
It would probably bother me a little if someone suggested my work belonged on a pornographic site. I would probably go through my gallery and analyze for myself if I thought I had overstepped appropriate lines. But I try to be mindful of this before posting, typically. So on this site, I would probably just say, "uh huh" and not reply further. 


"Your Skin and Bones"
14) What is the next level or the next step for you? 
So what next? A valid question. I just don't know. As for modeling, at some point later in life (when I have more money to go taking trips and flying throughout the country), I do think it would be fun to do a photo shoot with an accomplished photographer. And then like 40 years from now do another nude shoot with a photographer. That would be a truly interesting show, I think--to have prints up in a very similar style of myself at different stages/ages in life. As for life itself? Graduate with flying colors. Get my dream job. Be awesome. 

15) What advice would you give to another young lady wishing to do what you are doing? 
I don't think that I would advise other young women to do this. It's not exactly a safe thing to do and you have to kind of ignore a lot of crude comments from men. If her mind was set to do it, though, I would advise to just do it for yourself. Post what you feel and make it meaningful. 


16) If you were interviewing yourself, what good question might you ask that I’ve missed? And what would be your answer? 
Other questions I would ask myself if we switched roles...well...I'm not sure really. You didn't leave any holes, from what I can see. I'll let you know if I think of anything else, though.


"Thinking About Tomorrow"
**Note: All images on this blog particular post are property of and copyrighted by Strangely-Oneiric. No stock, please.

4 comments:

unbearable lightness said...

I love this interview. You chose a fascinating woman and did a great job with the questions. She gave phenomenal answers.

Photo Anthems.com said...

I know. Isn't she beautiful? She's definitely on my list. Love her attitude. Check out her gallery. Lovely girl.

Joanie said...

fantastic interview, T.

Photo Anthems.com said...

Thanks, Joanie. She's remarkable indeed. One of these days, is all I gotta say.