Rhiannon K. is a talented photographer from Malaysia whose main focus is conceptual photography. Her self-portraits are emotional and mysterious in unique ways. In this interview, we talk about her favorite artists, what to do with creative blocks, and more. Enjoy!
What attracted you to photography?
When I first started taking photos, I was in awe of how it had the ability to capture and preserve memories. However, as I dived deeper into this hobby and passion of mine – I realized photography has enabled me to create and share a visualization on what goes on in my mind. Photography is my safe haven which I go to whenever I feel the need to express myself.
Your self-portraits are incredibly striking. How did you get into the world of self-portraiture?
Thank you so much! I knew photography was something that was meant for me, but I wasn’t quite sure on how I was able to fully express myself with it. I was on platforms like DeviantART and Flickr which helped expose me to the different photography genres. However, it took me 4 years until I stumbled upon self-portraiture which instantly stirred something inside of me that yearned to create more. As a photographer, you capture your perspective of the things in front of you. But with self-portraits, it’s different and it’s slightly more challenging. You are exposing yourself in front of a camera in a way that captures your own soul and emotion and I think that is absolutely beautiful.
Which have artists influenced you the most?
I have a list of artists that I look up to but if I were to narrow it down, I would have to say Brooke Shaden and Alex Stoddard. These two have been my pillar of inspiration and if it wasn’t through stumbling upon their amazing work, I wouldn’t have discovered conceptual photography. I adore how both Shaden and Stoddard have the ability to create stories through their timeless pieces. Each photo that they produce are well planned and creatively executed. The implementation of photo manipulation in their work proves that there are really no boundaries when it comes to creating art. It is just a joy to interpret their work and just like them, I wish my work will be able to inspire another to get out there and create.
It’s evident that creativity is one of your strongest skills. How do you come up with ideas for your shoots?
I create photos that mean something to me on a personal level; so I am most inspired by my web of emotions at the time being. If you see through my work, it flows through different stages which reflect a kind of metamorphosis of my life. I tend to take notes of the littlest details around me and try to make sense as to why it builds a certain relevant feeling. It can start off with a poem that I wrote in my notebook and then I’ll go around building an image around it or, I might have a vivid daydream I had earlier that day and I’ll go back to my notebook, sketch it out and write a poem for it. I could also be watching films and feel a certain kind of connection with the plot or a character and be inspired. Every photo is created with the intention of expressing a message or an idea – but it is conceptualized to a certain level of mystery which provides viewers a reason to further explore and interpret the photo.
In addition to being a creative individual, you’re also a very talented retoucher. What advice would you give to aspiring photographers who are new to editing programs?
Be open to the idea of starting from scratch and taking the initiative to learn at your own pace. Don’t limit yourself to following a certain kind of style that you admire but explore a bunch of them and find what represents your work best. You’ll definitely go through tons of trial and error, but the outcome of it will be incredible and worthwhile.
When faced with a creative block, what do you do?
I don’t think there is a fixed formula to this except having the constant grounds of being connected to yourself and your surroundings. When you lose this, you tend to lose your true intentions behind what you are doing and that can really affect you creatively. Spending time in solitude helps me gather my thoughts and find a new approach to things. I usually spend it with reading creative self-help books and listening to good music.
If you could meet your favorite artist and ask them only one photography-related piece of advice, what would it be?
Oh, definitely on how they keep themselves constantly inspired and motivated to create! I see some of my favorite photographers creating everyday without fail and I’d love to know what helps them jumpstart and preserve their creativity.
In your opinion, what are the 3 most important things a beginner photographer should know?
Firstly, take your time. It can be a very vexatious situation, trying to discover your style. You can spend all week, months, years doing your research on your favorite artists and imitate their creative process. But in the long run, you’re only following another person’s growth and not yours. Which comes to my second point, understand how your mind and soul works. The better you know yourself, the better you can create. After all, your work represents you. Lastly, allow yourself to grow. Embrace the idea of learning and discovering new things everyday – be it a new technique of editing or experimenting with different creative outlets.
Is there a photography genre you’d like to experiment more with?
As for now, I don’t have any photography genre that I’m particularly interested in besides conceptual photography. In spite of that, I would love to include a male subject in my photos. I realized I have never envisioned it because I create from my perspective – so that would be really interesting.
What has been the most challenging creative obstacle for you so far, and how did you overcome it?
Acknowledging the fact that I was a creative burnout for a couple of years. I placed more importance towards my education and the people around me. Needless to say, I found myself knee-deep in a creative rut. I overcame my internal struggle through simply spending time alone; realigning myself. Most importantly my goals and aspirations. I woke up the next day with a fresh perspective and eager to create again.
You can find more of Rhiannon’s work on Youpic