PHOTOGRAPHY: An Interview with Dystopyan

Dys●to●pi●an: /disˈtōpēən/ noun

A person who imagines or foresees a state or society where there is great suffering or injustice. The dystopian protagonist challenges that which would control his or her life and helps others see the truth of the dystopian world through a unique perspective.

Patrick Ireland of FOCUS sat down with our friend, Dystopyan, to get to get a better sense of his “view of the world.”

Patrick: Thank you so much, my friend, for being our FOCUS artist for April 2019! Let me begin by also saying thank you for being such an inspiring friend. Truly, your talent in RL and SL is tremendous!

First question, just so we can get to know you personally: What’s one memory in SL that you have, or an event or experience here, that you have incorporated into your daily real life?

Dystopyan: Three and a half years ago, I had no clue that SL even existed. It was so intriguing to me when I first heard about it. After joining in, and seeing the amazing creations produced by the SL community, a spark was triggered in me. Since then, it has been a constant learning curve, taking creative inspiration from SL to RL, and vice versa.

Photography in SL has caused me to perceive photography in RL a bit differently too, pulling my work outside the box. And one thing I learned the hard way, posing people in SL is so much easier than RL. 🙂

Patrick: What is your background? You get bonus points if you can tie your life experiences to your artwork.

Dystopyan: I’ve always had an interest in different types of art since I was young. I used to draw a lot and play guitar. To be honest, I never thought I would ever go professional in RL photography and digital painting until I was forced to make the decision to drop everything and pursue the passion I have.

Since then I’ve tried to create a different approach — mixing photography, image editing and digital painting — to pull off some surrealist concepts and themes most of the time.

Patrick: What does your work aim to say?

Dystopyan: My work is about people. My work says: People are different and no 2 are alike. My work can mainly be split into 2 categories, commissioned and personal work. If you really analyze my images you will notice that no 2 photos are the same. Whenever I want to photograph someone or create a specific look for someone, I try to pull the person’s character out. I try and get to know the person behind the avatar and the reason why they look the way they do. Doing that helps me visualize the photos in my mind, makes me able to fine-tune their avatar and push the photos to the extreme. The other half of my work is my personal work which shows my interests in BDSM and erotic art, fantasy and some surrealistic views of the world — trying to capture whatever SL has to offer.

Patrick: Does your work comment on current social or political issues?

Dystopyan: I know that some artists are huge social and political influencers. Not me. I try to capture emotions in my work. I like to meet different people and help spread the beauty of those people living in different parts of the world. The main message I have to share is to accept the person in front of you for who they are. Find the beauty in them and spread that out. I do not bother myself with politics either, and as Plato said: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” I am willing to live with that risk for the sake of what I love.

Patrick: Who are your biggest influences?

Dystopyan: I was first a musician before becoming a digital artist, so music plays a big role in my life. I enjoy all music, from the classical masterpieces to the more heavier and aggressive genres. As for visual artists and photographers, I like the genius classic work of Ansel Adams for some reason even though my work is exactly the opposite. On the other hand, I like Alberto Seveso, Aaron Nace and Aleksi Goferman —to name a few — who inspire me and push me to advance and develop my photography, image editing and painting skills, to be able to do what I do now.

Patrick: I’ve noticed that you’re quite helpful to “younger” photographers here in SL. Have you collaborated with others here and how do you feel your real life experience in art and photography has helped others in SL capture their own spirit for design and composition?

Dystopyan: I haven’t had big collaborations in SL — except for a few with other friends who are photographers — but I always try and help people who want to discover photography in here. Maybe because I am self-taught in RL, and I know how hard it can be for someone to learn by themselves. So I always try and lend out a hand whenever I can. Seeing other people’s work and creativity is inspiring to me. Some photographers see that as competition. I see it as growth and inspiration. Explaining some few techniques in composition, color theory and light can bring an amateur’s photos to professional levels, and that alone gives me pleasure when I see it happen.

Patrick: Lastly, is there a story behind your name?

Dystopyan: Long story short, I guess it’s because I think we’re heading towards a very dystopian era in the future. I like works such as Lovecraft and everything related as well. I guess it’s a combination of stuff. It’s just something that resonated with me when I created my av and I’m damn impulsive. 🙂 So, Dystopyan.

Patrick: Your photos have an air of your perception of dystopia as well.

Dystopyan: Yes. I try to show that.

Patrick: Thank you again, Dystopyan, for your time and sharing with our readers.