Lucynda Lu is a most interesting Graphic Designer, using exclusively photography to achieve her creations. Her work is striking and always expresses intense human emotions by blending photo's, textures, light and shadows, fascinating colors into captivating conceptual images. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting the interview. You will find more photos by the end of the article.
Can you say a few words about yourself?
I’m Polish but I live in Ireland. I was educated in Poland and graduated Art School and the Nicolaus Copernicus University - Faculty of Fine Arts. I worked after graduation as a Graphic Designer in Poland but only for a short time. Fortunately, a few years later, I found a job in a field related to my profession in Ireland. After my studies and while working, I had the opportunity to learn about the digital processing of images and I'm still learning because, as we all know, this story never ends. We never know enough.
What fascinates you about photography and what inspiration pushes you to continue working in this field?
I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. I was fascinated by old black & white family photographs and portraits. What attracted me the most was the freezing of time. Behind this moment, suspended in time, you can read different stories. I learned classical B&W photography Polish masters. I was never separated from my first camera, a ‘’Zenit TTL’’ , books about photography during the time I was attending Art School. To this day, I believe this simple analog SLR camera is the best camera to learn photography. During my education in Art school and University, I had the opportunity to discover the works of many great artists who inspired me. Photographers like : Edward Bulhak, Czeslaw Czaplinski, Krzysztof Gieraltowski and Zofia Rydet and her ‘’Sociological Record’’.
Also, I've always admired the “Polish School of Posters” made up of a group of Polish poster artists who have achieved international renown. Posters made by these artists are very different stylistically however they have several features in common such as conciseness and economy of form, irony and innovative typography. Please let me mention a few of them: Jan Lenica, Jan Mlodozeniec, Waldemar Swierzy, Franciszek Starowieyski. In the process of designing a poster, I particularly like a kind of brief thinking and the use of symbolism and metaphor.
Why are you so drawn by creatively edited photography?
During my studies I was also interested in drawing. I graduated with a specialization in Drawing. The fact is that drawing has impacted my photography and on the other side, my photography has impacted my drawing to the extent that my thesis for drawing was created with a photo camera. What is a photograph if not a drawing? Drawing using light. Drawing by light.:) I have always tried to combine both mediums.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
Artwork is for me a way to express myself and my emotions. I treat them very personally. I try to make the Artwork able to speak to the audience itself using only images. That's why I don't like to title Graphics. With no title, I give the viewer free space for interpretation. It is more interesting and inspiring to hear different interpretations from viewers and the title they would give it.
I try to create my work as slightly surreal, dressed in fantasy and non-obviousness. I like to use metaphors and symbolisms. My goal is to catch the viewer's attention and challenge him to guess the story that lies behind the image.
What gear and software do you use to create your images and can you tell us something more about your work flow?
The photos that I use to create graphics are taken by me. I gather materials, photographing everything that is interesting from my point of view and what might be useful to me. To the outsider, these photos may seem very odd and imperfect, but to me they have the potential of becoming the foundations or the tools for my graphics. So, my archive is full of pictures of mossy walls, textures, old walls but also landscapes, objects and myself in various poses.
Sometimes the idea comes before the graphics. In that case I'm taking photos intentionally.
However, most of the time, ideas are born when viewing my archive. Although I have a modest set of lamps for my home studio I mostly take hand held photographs. And later I work on my images in Photoshop using multiple layers, often blending them together. Mixed and blended textures enable me to combine sketches, painting and photography and this not only gives me a lot of satisfaction but stimulates my creativity as well.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
Of course, there are, many of them. For example Annie Leibovitz and her fantastic portraits. There are also many great inspiring and talented artists on 1x.com. So I'm happy to mention the artists that I admire: Ben Goossens, Tommy Ingberg, Michael Bilotta, Epsilon Delta, Naster Phoenix.
1x.com is a great place to share Art but also learn and talk about photography. A place where you can grow and learn from more experienced photographers.
But If I can add something….The paradox is that I'm trying not to look to much and to even subconsciously not repeat someone else's idea. Of course, you can't give up watching completely if you love this art. I think that the conscious artist knows that the boundary between inspiration and a copy is sometimes very thin. This is due to the fact that I respect the work of other artists and just don't wish to find somebody who has counterfeited my work.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
My favorite artwork is ‘’I’m looking for Myself’’ because it fully expresses the idea of my 'little philosophy' (as I call it) that has guided me from the beginning and that I pursued through photography and drawing during my studies. The inspiration for this work came from a question of identity. Am I what other people see me as? Does other people’s perception of me make me what I am? And if that perception varies from person to person who am I really – do I have an identity at all? And I let viewers decide – to name me, dress me and create me from scratch because I can’t find myself. This is of course a metaphor. But I think that question is up to date in today's age of the Internet and social media.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in creatively edited photography and how do you get started?
It's hard to give advice to budding photographers / graphic artists as I, myself am constantly learning. The possibilities using graphics software for image editing are endless! Just like our imagination! However, if I was going to give any advice it would be to not be afraid to experiment. I’m not talking about the skills to use Photoshop and other graphics programs because nowadays it is not difficult to acquire these skills (but they are important). I meant rather the opening up of the realm of the subconscious and to have dreams that allow you to connect, associate and accept even the most seemingly nonsense things.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
Yes, it's been an honour and a pleasure ... I would like to thank you Yvette for the opportunity to share a little bit of myself with you all.