Inspiration & Artistic Style

All artists stand on the shoulders of other artists. We are no exception. Furthermore, our inspiration is always changing and thus our art is constantly evolving. A benefit of living in today’s information age is that we have unprecedented access to art across the ages. Today we’ll discuss our contemporary influences as well as some historical figures that have had a lasting impact on our style.

Artistic Style: How do we describe our style?

We take a cinematic approach to our art. We create for mood, storytelling, balance, and character. I (Tyler) have a professional background in cinematography: the silver screen has always captivated me. My favorite director is Alfred Hitchcock, a master storyteller who would weave tales without being explicit. Watch one of his most famous scenes from Psycho when the lead female is permanently removed from the script. Never once do you see the murderous act. Hitchcock tells the story through suggestion!

We ascribe to the same ideals. The “smile at the camera and say ‘cheese'” approach to portraiture is a holdover from when subjects had to sit still for extended periods of time (the technology required it!). But we strive to invite both our subject and the audience to recognize joy, grief, charity, the full spectrum of the emotions without explicitly stating “be happy” or “this person is happy because they’re smiling.” We seek to create emotion. We seek to create story.

The lighting is a servant to these aims.

Artistic Style: Lighting for Story

The cinematic style we mentioned above requires depth. Depth of character. Depth of scene. Depth of connection. But we’re dealing with a two-dimensional medium. To create visual depth, we have to introduce lighting variety in the scene. This means shadows!

My daughter and I were driving home one day in Colorado as the sun was setting. I asked her to describe the lighting differences on the mountains as we headed West. Do the same yourself. You will notice that our eyes perceive depth (one mountain is further back than another) by changes in the hue. We know the mountains are the same color. But the hue gets lighter the further back the mountains recede.

We light to create the same depth. When we are planning your session, we talk about the mood and how we will light the scene to create a timeless piece of art.

Artistic Style: Our Inspiration

We say timeless because the styles that inspire us have stood the test of time. Two historical figures and three contemporary artists have had a disproportionate influence on the art we strive to create (albeit with our own twist).

Leonardo DaVinci and Rembrandt are both masters who understood and wielded the power of shadow. Rembrandt has a lighting patter named after him! Art history is populated with many craftspersons that captured the two dimensional representation of subjects. DaVinci and Rembrandt mastered the ability to make their subjects jump off the canvas. They were masters of depth.

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Fast forward to the 20th century and introduce Helmut Newton, David Drebin, and Vincent Peters. All three are modern day embodiments of the Rennaisance masters.

Newton was famous for his tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. He was a king in the fashion world, but never lost sight of his creative inspiration. He would often poke fun at himself and the industry. It came through in his art and his reputation: people loved creating with him because of the experience he fostered. We strive to do the same.

Peters and Drebin both are doing things today we find unique and motivating. Their dramatic use of light, their study of shape and story as opposed to a glaring, in-your-face interpretation of the world echoes Hitchcock’s subtlety. We strive to do the same.

While we strive to capture similar emotion, mastery, and experience, we are excited most about our own style. We are humbled by the grace our clients extend when they decide to commission us. Contact us to discuss how we can create together!

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