I often get asked about the concepts behind my photos. So here's how it works.
Of course when we talk about regular work, usually there is not much space left for creativity as it's what the customer wants, and usually it regards both parties. So please assume I am speaking about collaborations only throughout all of this post.
Back to the topic: it's a mess.
Sometimes ideas are developed by massive brainstorming involving the photographer and I, and that's what works for me most of the times. Sometimes I shoot the photographer's concept only, sometimes the vice-versa happens, so what I like gets portrayed... but most of the times it's a fair mix between what we both like.
When other people are involved in the project (MUAHs, stylists, etc), unless the project is defined already (so the right ones are picked up accordingly), everyone is entitled to say what they would like to do and see.
The key is to put together the right team for each shoot. Depending on the theme, on what (involved) people like, on who you're working with... the whole result changes.
I often develop my own concepts for my pictures. I contact the people I think it's right for the project, the ones I would like to collaborate with and that I probably know already, and I tell them what I would like to create. I often spend months thinking about what to suggest, looking for the right outfit or accessory. Months pass by but I do not forget who I promised to work with :) - and this is important too! Some concepts need more time to evolve and strengthen.
This small post does also make things clearer about the role of "models". Most of us are people that get portrayed in pictures. While the photographic skills are photographer's only, the concept may be not (partially or at all). Most of us go beyond the pretty-ness in pictures and try to be part of their own fairytales, within everyone's means limitations of course. Not to forget that posing does not happen by default. You gotta learn how to do it. We mostly are not simple mannequins, but like to re-create our own world and, of course, follow our own style :)
While attending Frontiers of Interaction a few weeks ago I had the chance to attend a workshop held by Louisa. I didn't miss the chance to ask her for an interview and she has been very kind and replied me all the questions.
The interview was, however, meant for the Italian girlgeeklife website. Which is, as you may assume, Italian-only. However, the interview is so beautiful that everyone should be able to read it. It's why I am posting the full, English version on my website (here, as follows). The Italian version can be read HERE, on GGL website :)
I attended Louisa's workshop at FOI13 and I have been amazed by her skills. Engaging, curious, full of energy. This is a small sunto of how she looked like.
Her workshop, "Your Life as a Cyborg Superhero", strived to find out what new technologies can add to everyday's life in a near future and how. Designer and strategist, technology enthusiast, Louisa has a brilliant career: among other things, she was a Design Director in the first dotcom boom, an Executive at the BBC, and launched an Innovation Lab for Electrical Engineers. Most recently, she was Head of Strategy for international Service Design agency Fjord. She recently founded her own company, SuperHuman Ltd., a consultancy with the strapline, "putting people first." She believes that technology has the capability to give us all superpowers if we apply it correctly, and we do that by keeping our focus on what's most important: people.
Louisa's work is mostly about looking the future and seeing above it.
Speaking about what can improve us in the future, via cyber-futuristic implants, starting from the well known Google glasses to smart apps and more sophisticated prosthetic implants that improve blind's vision or allow people to hold objects or walk even in case of amputation or missing limbs. Technology that can enhance human skills or restore what's called "normality". All of this makes us, in the end, cyborgs.
1. What makes you so passionate about these topics?
Ever since I was a child, I've loved technology - but I've also always loved storytelling, people, understanding why we do the things we do. Because technology moves so fast and people are, let's face it, pretty chaotic and complicated, there's a tendency for businesses and technologists to focus on their own needs, instead of the needs of the people who will use the technology or the product. I think we miss out on a lot of opportunities that way.
I'm also relentlessly curious and love learning new things. My favourite way to learn is through conversation and collaboration with brilliant people, by working through interesting challenges together. My work allows me to engage with many people I admire, discussing and working through interesting challenges together. Ultimately, I want what we all want: to make brilliant things. I want those things to make a positive difference in real people's lives, because when I see people happier because of something I've been involved with, there's no other feeling quite like it.
2. Nowadays more and more girls are involved in tech topics. I am very confident about it as girls-against-tech is a boring cliché, and I love to hear experiences. What did you drive towards all of this magic world? Do you have any story to tell us, any encouragement for who's trying?
When I was about 5, my family moved to the USA. I became friends with a girl who lived in our road. Her mother was big on male/female stereotypes and once told me, when I tried to take a blue cupcake instead of a pink one, that "pink is for girls and blue is for boys." She also told her daughter that "girls can't be doctors, girls can be nurses. Boys are doctors." Then again, she also tried to tell me that thunder was the sound of God bowling, so I knew not to take her too seriously. But when I told my mother about this, she marched down the street and gave the woman a very stern talking to about how her daughter could do *anything she wanted* and how dare she say otherwise!
So when I was a girl, I didn't even notice that most of my honours Maths class were boys. It didn't occur to me to think that my study or career choices were limited by gender (or colour or class, but that's a different story). I still don't. If I find something that's interesting, I'll explore it. It just doesn't occur to me that my gender would get in the way of that. Thus, I think focussing on gender is counterproductive. If you love technology, if you're interested in maths, if you want to be an electrician or work in concert production or whatever it is you want to do, then I say go for it. Apply yourself with all your heart, put all your passion toward it. It's really hard for anyone to disqualify a person who has passion for their work and real depth of understanding. Unfortunately, gender inequality does still exist, both in the technology world and elsewhere, but I've been quite happy focussing on what interests me, pushing myself to learn and grow - and not worrying about whether people see me differently because I'm female.
3. How is it exploring future trends? How does it look like? Sounds exciting, but what does it require? Imagination, skills, both?
You'd be surprised how rarely people ask this question, so I'm glad you did! Exploring trends is super-fun and rewarding, but as with most rewarding things, it does require rather a lot of work as well. And it's important to remember, as Salvatore Iaconesi said in his workshop at FOI, the things that we imagine for the future are often the things we end up creating. Sometimes I wish I could find the people who design computer interfaces for sci-fi movies and, ahem, *have a word* with them.
For me, exploring the future is about spotting patterns in the past and present and looking at the underlying 'why' - there's a lot more to it than technology. There's the business landscape, the sociopolitical climate, economics and governmental policy. But for me, the most effective anchor is human behaviour. We change and evolve much more slowly than technology, and we are also at the heard of all of these systems. My trends work weaves together the strands of influence across business, economics and technology and tells a story that's centred on humans. Then again, my degrees are in Theatre and Anthropology, so that's a big part of how I learnt to understand the world.
4. Speaking of the workshop you held at FOI13: could you tell the readers what was it about? What was the final target and what results you got?
Most importantly, I wanted everyone to think freely and have some fun! I think a lot of our best ideas come when we're relaxed and enjoying ourselves. But as with most of the things I try to do, for me the workshop was about focusing on the person rather than the technology, and debunking some myths. I think we spend a lot of our time as technologists thinking about what new technology we could invent and insert into people's lives. At the same time, we tend to think of a lot of things as distant science fiction when in reality they're just around the corner. In the workshop, I asked each group to design a specific, themed superhero (e.g. super cop, super-firefighter, etc.) by thinking about what kind of problem they'd want a superhero to help with (or what kind of hero they'd like to be!), and which abilities their superhero would need to face those challenges. The point was to focus on the person and what they were trying to accomplish - using technology to enable them to do those things better. Then we explored what that would mean for the superhero - what they'd have to give up in exchange for these powers, what their lives would be like. At the end, each group told a story that featured their superhero.
All of them were interesting, but one really leapt out at me: their superhero was by far the most augmented, with enhanced vision, hearing, smell, touch, etc. But their story described a journey where at the end, the man turned off all his tech-powers, because (as one of the participants said), "It's the human that's the real superhero."
I found that really powerful. Technology is super-cool, but it's humans who use it to shape the world, and that's what I find most inspiring.
Thank you, Louisa, for your time, your kindness and this awesome interview! :)
Loving my bell jar: I found it in the basement long ago. It was my dad's but the base was missing. So wooden base has been custom made by my loved one, almost one year ago.
Time just goes by. The rose inside the jar it is by now old and withered. As much as we try to preserve and protect things, there is nothing we can do about time. And time takes us all - changes us all. Makes us all different - yet if you learn the magic spell, you can keep it beautiful. Till the end.
Just keep holding them tight, close to your heart.
"Time, stand still, I order you, No minute pass until I'm through. Doing what I need to do, Time, stand still, I order you"
Past week I visited Cunene. We had to shoot some pics for her upcoming exhibition; I've seen some previews already, but of course they are top secret until time has come. However, as follows I am posting some backstage pictures taken from my instagramaccount :)
A peek of what's to come :) I also shoot couple of portraits with my fave new jewelry, I can't wait to see the final pics. So, while waiting for a preview, here are the pics! I am not shooting every week lately as I am very busy with other stuff and I missed her :) - fun times!
More backstage (and daily life) pics on my instagram, if you are curious about stuff :)
Also, if you want to meet me in the flesh: I will be attending Codemotion in Milan, Italy. Pass by and say hello, I'm easily recognisable due to my green hair :D
Past week I attended 3 events, for a grand total of 4 days! On Thursday and Friday you may have met me at the Frontiers of Interaction, in Milan, where I attended workshops and conferences. I also did play a bit on my friend Orf's stand with his artsy and magic installation. Wanna see? Here's a video of me having fun!
On Saturday I attended the Pragma Conference with these awesome guys. The Pragma conference was all about iOS and it has been cool. Some more iOS knowledge does always help (plus I loved the talk about videogames, Mr Marin Todorov has been very engaging and SpriteKit 101 seems interesting enough to give it a try) :) Oh, and here's a pic I grabbed from PragmaMark's twitter account:
[Photo by PragmaMark - you can see me bottom left, eheh!]
On Sunday I paid a visit to Playing the Game event, a small yet well organized event about gaming, games and indie developers. It has been nice to meet some like-minded people and I took an awesome picture that I want to share with you; isn't this xbox controller amazing?
Also, since someone asked me: no I did not attend the Games Week. Although it was an interesting event and I would have loved to experience the IGDS summit, the event collided with two of the above mentioned other events. So much stuff filled into the same week, ew!
So if we've seen eachother at any of these events; it has been nice to meet you! Please forgive me if I can't remember about you pronto next time as I got to know tons of people, just remind me who you are!
I will be attendingFrontiers of Interaction 2013. That event is a dream; I can't wait to be there. It is a hybrid conference about technology, design, innovation and geekyness. Live shows, live conferences, cool people talking about cool stuff.
I amposting it on my journal here; my website will slowly turn into a more personal one than just a photo-display, hence do not be surprised this is absolutely NOT a modeling/photo event.
Where to find me?
I will be supporting my friend'sOrf awesome work, so come by our stand and see what we are up to. We will be more than happy to show you how stuff works! Of course you can easily spot me (green haired girl) and I will be attending conferences and shows as well, and I am also writing another article (or more) for girlgeek:)
*** Interaction is storytelling, and storytelling is a need. "protoTypo" is an interactive container of stories. This implementation of protoTypo stems for Frontiers of Interaction 2013 and tells a story of design and designers. The tool of interaction is a humble spray gun, to commemorate the craftsmen who actually built those prototypes, and to make the interactive storytelling experience more substantial.
Spray letter clouds to unveil stories: it's a game!
I'll present protoTypo at Frontiers of Interaction 2013, on October 24th and 25th. Hope to meet you there