When I was browsing Flickr, this photo from Devereau Beauregard jumped off the screen, grabbed me by the shoulders and pushed my face toward my monitor, shouting “Look! Look! Did you see that?” It’s the bold colors, of course, that first caught my eye, but that is not what held my attention. It was the angle, the framing slightly off center and diagonal, the depth of field, the story of it, the whole STOMP-ishness that made me start looking for his work with anticipation.
Devereau Beauregard has been in Second Life about a year. His one year rez day was December 11th, though he did create a now-abandoned avatar about eight years ago that lasted about a week. When he first joined he thought about roleplaying, but was drawn to photography and blogging. As he put it, “I just can’t help playing dress up.”
And dress up he does. Most of his photos feature him in drag as Alexandra Nevermind whom he describes as “futuristic IKEA villain drag” in his profile. I don’t know about IKEA, are their colors as brilliant and bright as hers?
For him, Second Life is a bit of escape from his first life. However, he adds, “I would be lying to say that a fair amount of it doesn't bleed into SL. I've always been a creative heart, and much of my line of work has been in creative and technical design, usually in the marketing industry. It's not too much of a far stretch to transition this over to photography, I've found. Then again, art is a great way to get that little splash of colour one doesn't always find in the IT industry. Have you tried turning it off and on again? “
See my interview about his bold and colorful work below.
How would you describe your body of work?
I would say that I enjoy incorporating a lot of varied elements from high fashion, industrial, futuristic and the avant garde. I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to patterns. Solid colours, clean lines and bright colours are the usual standard of my work. I like to use variations on a theme with a story behind it, blending the line between realism and fantasy. However, now and again, I do try to challenge myself with some palettes that are a little more washed out while still trying to hold the integrity of my image within different styles. It's a good way to keep yourself from going stagnant.
I notice you have a love of saturated colors. Is this purposeful or just happenstance?
It's quite purposeful! This might sound silly, but in RL, I struggle very much with depression. When we create art, we can make it anything we want, including a pleasant bastion away from what bogs us down in real life. To me, I equate bright colours with happiness. In that light, I find joy in what I do.
Who has influenced your work?
My influences vary. 80's Club Kid culture, Drag fashions, and art movements are some pretty large influences. Outlandish queens such as Acid Betty and Sasha Velour, that play on art and culture a fair amount to begin with, mold a fair amount. Fashion icons and designers like Thierry Mugler and Iris Apfel play into my eccentric bits. I'm also a massive nerd, so a lot of my love of video games does sneak in now and again. The largest influence of all would have to be my late mother, however. I began blogging as a means of keeping myself busy after her recent passing. I can't think of a single more eccentric and radiant woman than she. It was her that taught me to dare to be strange, feeding my own creativity with her love of drag and strange curios. I can only hope to be as flashy as her someday.
What's your favorite photo of your work...and how did you go about coming up with the idea and executing it?
Asking me to pick a favourite picture is like asking me to pick a favourite child. However...if I had to pick one, I would likely pick this “Can you be something more than black and white and gray” (above)
This was actually a collaboration I worked on together with another blogger (MissLilt Resident) (Check out Lilt's version here!) It was something we were doing to highlight a set released from Aii, the inspiration resting within a beloved anime (Ghost in the Shell.) For me, there was such a great deal of nostalgia resting within it that it was difficult for me not to find it pleasant. We used the sim District 18, a cyberpunk RP sim, as the backdrop as it played into the theme. While you can see the tone is quite different between our two pictures (seeing the different perspectives is the best part of collabs!) most of my inspiration in the colour and competition was a blend of the 90's cyberpunk and vaporwave aesthetic, focus playing on the fantasy that surrounded the possibilities of technology in the past through some details such as the distant focusing upon the screen, etc.; I'm a sucker for little details.
I was immediately drawn to “History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men.” (See opening photo) Is there a story behind that picture?
That one? Not as much as you'd think. I had to blog the shoes, and the day prior, someone chucked a silly dinosaur onesie at me for a random, spontaneous dance circle. It was pretty ridiculous, actually. However, it made me think of my love of Kaiju (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah, anyone?) and I decided it would be hilarious to make a really silly picture around that theme to go with the shoes. RuPaul is often saying that drag is a reminder not to take life too seriously; I cannot agree with this more.
Any tips, hints, or advice for aspiring photographers?
Really, the best piece of advice I can give you is to just do it. Never worry about how good or bad you are, and don't compare yourself to anyone else in a negative way. Even the best photographers started out rough one day, and consistency is the key to getting better. The more you just create, the more you'll be able to see how much you're improving just through repetition and practice. Celebrate the little victories, and move at your own pace.
I would also recommend doing research and have your vision and be honest to how much you wish to compromise. There will always need to be a balance between self-expression and marketing. The more you wish to represent other people, the more adaptive you may need to be to their image. Some people enjoy adapting and changing. Some people just want to make art and express their vision.
Don't feel like you have to blog for a ton of people to find your worth. Just do what's right for you. If you're not enjoying what you're doing, there's no point.
You play with angles and poses a lot with lots of angularity...do you make your own poses? How do you frame your shots?
I do not often make my own poses. I've had some people make a few for me, but I would consider myself "brand loyal" to a few pose makers. Bauhaus Movement is probably who I use most, though FOXCITY, Poseidon and SpartinParx are good contenders, as well. Framing is a lot of trial and error. I have a love affair with the idea of motion in a picture, so I try to embody depth and angles often. With good angles, you can draw the eye of the viewer to focus on exactly what you want, and you can bring a lot of life to an otherwise flat picture. While I sometimes have an idea of what I want based on the outfit shape, sometimes my setup takes longer than I want based on just testing poses with different zooms and directions of the SL camera.
How much of your work is done in post-processing?
Very, very little. I'm not the best at Photoshop, and I really, really should be getting better. I've never used a green screen, and so far, every background, prop and detail has been something available to me in world. All angles are achieved using the camera in world, as well. When I am editing out of world, it is usually just for the occasional blur, minimal colour correction and detailing such as fog and basic lighting effects. I do use projectors in world, so even with lighting, most of that is just WindLights and light sources there. While I can, and should, get much better at editing, much of my main focus was to do most of the heavy lifting in SL, and get good at building a strong foundation to build upon.
What do you wish I had asked you? Pretend I did and answer my missing question...
A common question I get is if I struggle with rejection because I have such a particular style, or if I suffer for being relatively new in SL. I would probably say that I deal with rejection just as much as anyone else just starting out. The blogging world is a huge pool of amazing artists, and sometimes it can feel daunting to make a dent in it.
Sometimes I do regret that I missed out on some of the golden years of SL, and sometimes it can feel a bit lonely, but...I wouldn't say it dulls my flame. I've found a nice little niche for RP in Convergence and I'm always delighted to strike up a random conversation. You never know what can happen, right? At the end of the day, we're all just here to express ourselves and do what we love. I believe if we're passionate enough, everything else just falls into place.
What do you want readers to know about you?
I would like you all to know that you're all fantastic, beautiful people. I love seeing what you all create, and seeing all of the wonderful work you make of all styles and hearing all of the kind, supportive words of those in the community are what keep me going. I also want you to know that I don't bite! Usually. If you ever want a shopping buddy or someone to bounce ideas off of, you're always welcome to message me in world on DevereauBeauregard resident. Meeting new people always makes my day.
Be the strange you wish to see in the world.
- Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/devereaubeauregard/
- Blog: lavenderlegato.wordpress.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/MissAlexandraNevermind
- Plurk: www.plurk.com/DevereauBeauregard
Cajsa Lilliehook joined Second Life in 2007 and has been enjoying the art of SL ever since. Disliking the common practice of critiquing poor photos, she decided to highlight good ones and explain why they work in hopes of inspiring with praise instead of criticism. Follow Cajsa on Flickr, on Twitter or on her blog.