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Once upon a time ... in Fairyland

by Editor Michel Romaggi  in collaboration with the author Sherry Akrami
Published the ... of November 2020

Dear Sherry, I recently discovered all the magnificent images in your portfolio.
  Each of them shows us a tale that every viewer can easily imagine. Your work reflects a  wonderful world full of poetry, where fantasy and aesthetics compete to give us fairy tale looking images and fantastic sceneries.  This dreamlike photo in particular catches my eye and it would please me and a lot of 1x members if you could give us some more explanations about the source of your creativity as well as about the techniques you use to come to such exquisite results.


'Untitled' by Sherry Akrami


Without telling us all of your secrets, please tell us some more about your images.
Some of your pictures are inspired by books (la Belle Sauvage, Lord of the rings, E. Poe), where do you usually find ideas to create such a dreamlike and wonderful world…Especially for this one.

One of my favourite things to do in my photomontages is to create imaginary worlds. As you mentioned in your question, some of my photos are inspired by the books I read, but sometimes the environment I find myself in, gives me the inspiration I need and this particular image is an example. I better first describe the place that I took most of the photos for this image to you. I went camping in this extraordinary desert in the centre of Iran, near Kerman called Kalouts of Shahdad. The place is located in the Lut Desert, one of the warmest and driest places on earth. It has enormous labyrinthine contiguous tall sand walls which give the place a unique vibe. You can stay in one place without moving and the scenery transforms completely when natural lighting changes. By looking at the crevices in the sand walls and their formations, I could imagine building elements like windows or other architectural components. Then I imagined what it would be like if there was a sea in the desert. And also the aridity of the desert gave me the idea to create this image.


I guess that it takes a lot of time and many steps to get such pictures. How many different pictures did you need in this one?  Is there a part of painting? If yes, how did you proceed?
This image consists of around 23 or 24 photos stitched together. I prefer to work only with photos, but sometimes when I I don't have those I need, I draw them some parts  like the sail on the little boat in this image. Most of the time my drawings are little elements that can be seen in the smaller details of my work.


How do you prepare your work to achieve the picture you imagined? How do you get the pictures you need to achieve your work (which camera and lens)? How do you choose the places, this special light, and those soft colours? Which processing do you use?
I take my camera (Canon EOS 6D with 28-105 Lens) with me everywhere. I also have a large archive of photos of everything I find interesting.

When I have a creative idea, I first like to do a rough drawing of it, mostly to find the right composition shades and lighting. Then I spend a fair amount of time browsing through my archived photos to find the right photos for my work. In doing so, sometimes I get new ideas along the way. That’s why I like to spend a lot of time working on this stage.
Then, I begin to create the image I have in mind, in Photoshop, selecting, cutting, masking, colour matching. 
And then my favourite part is post-processing.  I mean working on the light and tones.
For this image, it wasn’t really hard because the colour palette of the desert sands and the lights in the sky were already there for me to use.


Most of the time, you avoid giving a title. Is this to allow each of us to find his own dreamy way through your picture?
Precisely! And also I find myself not to be very creative with finding titles :)
Sometimes titles are too obvious and it tells the viewer exactly what he needs to see in the image. I think some titles inhibit the ability of the viewer to be imaginative and create their own stories.


To conclude, can you tell us some more about yourself and how you ended to create such stunning work?
I started learning photography at the age of nineteen at university. Back then, my favourite subject was the History of Art. The continuous changes in art styles always fascinated me. I’m particularly partial to the Romantic era landscapes. The lighting and the subject matter in the works of the masters really inspire me. I also like a lot the works of  the pioneers in Fine Art Photography and  most of all the incredible surreal images of Jerry Uelsmann. 

All this triggers  my imagination and leads me to create the images I make.


Thank you very much, Sherry!  
We're very grateful you shared some of your art with us.