The Photo Artist
Wonder of Make-Believe Meets Power of the Camera
For an instant, you know anything is possible. That’s the magic of photo artist Bryan Allen.
He holds the wonder of make-believe in one hand and the power of his camera in the other. The challenge is to produce and blend images so convincingly that your imagination accepts the flight of fancy and literally sees what it wishes could be true.
Bryan is a master of mesmerism. And, as with the greatest of magicians, a lot of behind-the-scenes work is involved so that the audience can experience the full effect of his carefully orchestrated show.
Take the glowing fairy queen in the glass jar filled with fireflies.
“The captured fairy queen is real.” Bryan says. “The boys are real. The tiny crescent moon in the night sky is real. So is the house. But, not every element of the photo happened with one click of the camera.”
Nor did every element happen in the same location or on the same day. In fact, his concept required several photo shoots to tell the charming story that Bryan first pictured in his mind. When real fireflies weren’t cooperative enough, Bryan created a realistic model from clay, wood, and paint—part of the photographic magic to make it real.
It’s part of his artistic signature. Like his iconic “Lightning Catchers” illustration.
When people first see the image, they often think that it is a painting—but everything is painstakingly real. The seed of the idea simmered for close to a year before a lightning storm triggered the final germination of the concept. Then, Bryan pulled together the perfect characters to bring the vision to life. And, as fantasy-focused as the image appears, it is based in realness. From the lightning in the jars to the strange lightning pole that the old woman uses to pull the electricity from the sky. All of it.
“That image represents the more complicated part of what I do.” Bryan explains. “I enjoy the production part of pulling ideas together seamlessly, so some of my work requires very elaborate planning.”
Other work is more straight forward.
“I do commercial photography.” Bryan explains. “They tell me that I have a style that captures the meaning of the story. A way of underscoring a brand message to evoke the feeling that words alone can’t fully express. I do have an active imagination and I know how to use the camera to persuade viewers to see what I see in my mind.”
Bryan also creates stock images that art directors can license or buy.
“I spend a significant amount of time every month traveling so I have the opportunity to capture the images of some very amazing people and places.” Bryan says. “When I am on location, I like to work with local folks to shoot the native imagery that is often taken for granted. Sometimes my client is local and sometimes I serve as a correspondent for an outside entity that wants the image. My visitor’s eye can be very valuable for understanding what is really there.”
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