All images by Lana Eileen. Used with permission.
My name is Lana Eileen. I am a visual artist, musician, and photographer currently based on the island of Tasmania, Australia. My work as a photographer seeks to capture a sense of ethereality, combining reality and fantasy to create scenes laced with the heightened quality of magic realism. I approach each photograph like an art piece. Though I favor the grainy quality of vintage film cameras, I also use a Canon 5D MK III and Canon 600D. I only use natural light.
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Why did you get into photography?
Lana Eileen: As a musician, I frequently worked with professional photographers on photoshoots for press releases. While modeling, I became increasingly interested in the process of photography. I liked the idea of having greater creative control of the imagery associated with my music by being able to take the press shots myself, so this is what I started to experiment with. Over several years, I slowly fell in love with photography through this approach, but it is only in the past six months that I have started to take it seriously. As I am also a painter and illustrator, I treat photography as another tool for making art, and it is fast becoming my favorite medium.
Which photographers are your biggest influences?
Lana Eileen: I love the elegant, soft-focus work of 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, and also the grittier work of Diane Arbus. A more recent photographer whose work is a big influence on me is Polish photographer Laura Makabresku.
How long have you been shooting?
Lana Eileen: I have been experimenting for a few years, but have only really started to take it seriously in the past six months.
Why is photography and shooting so important to you?
Lana Eileen: I view photography as another tool for creative expression, and I deeply enjoy the flexibility and versatility of working with a camera. It is important to my work as an artist, as it enables me to give a voice to ideas that I might not otherwise be able to formulate artistically.
Do you feel you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?
Lana Eileen: I am more of a creator, as I approach photography like painting or any other artistic practice. I came to photography from being a musician and artist, so it makes sense that I view myself as a creator as opposed to a documented.
What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically.
Lana Eileen: For me, a shoot is usually a lot of fun, and somewhat magical — I am looking for those instances when the light is just right, and I am usually very grounded, feeling extremely present in the moment, particularly when shooting outdoors in beautiful places. It is a very meditative experience.
Want to walk us through your processing techniques?
Lana Eileen: I will do a quick edit in Photoshop if I need to add or subtract anything, but then I do the bulk of my editing in Lightroom, where I play with the colors, saturation, clarity, and so on.
What made you want to get into your genre?
Lana Eileen: I think it is a direct reflection of who I am and the kind of art I gravitate towards. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but a product of how I am in the world, and the way in which I perceive things.
Tell us a bit about the gear you use and how it helps you achieve your creative vision.
Lana Eileen: I was shooting on a Canon 600D for a few years, but upgrading to the 5D MK III has been very useful. I tend to focus more on lighting and processing to achieve my vision, shooting at the right time of day, and focusing in on specific moments that harness that sense of magic.
What motivates you to shoot?
Lana Eileen: I am motivated by a desire to create art, giving expression to ideas or images I have in my mind that can communicate a feeling or mood to viewers. I know I love looking at photography and get a lot of enjoyment out of other’s work, so if I am able to give others that feeling, and capture a moment of stillness or beauty, that is my goal.
You can see the Language of Water on Lana’s website.