Her talent in photography isn't the only thing I admire about her. I've been following her on Tumblr for a while now, and I've come to learn that she's a very smart and opinionated lady as well. In fact, this interview is probably the most insightful one I've had so far.
1. To start us off, introduce yourself and share 3 quirks of yours.
I'm Lucy, better known as River on DoA and formerly Dieux-faux (now Geekisthecolour) on tumblr and dA. I'm 27, live in the UK and I'm currently studying for a photography degree. I've been in the BJD hobby for about five and a half years now and don't plan to quit any time soon. I guess one of my quirks would be my habit of changing names online far too often, I have an irrational fear of E.T. and my biggest passion is definitely crafting stories and characters to put in them.
2. How did you start as a photographer? Did that come first before you started the BJD hobby?
Growing up my dad was very into photography so it's always been something I've had an interest in since there where always cameras around to play with but really getting into it seriously and getting into BJDs pretty much happened around the same time. I definitely wouldn't be where I am now when it comes to my photography if it wasn't for my dolls, they're my biggest photographic muse and really drove me to improve, especially since a lot of the techniques we use for shooting dolls are the same as those you'd use for portraiture, just on a smaller scale.
3. As an artist, what is the goal of your photos?
I wouldn't really say I have a single definable goal for all of my photos, especially since I think my doll photography and the photography I do for uni and other personal projects has very different aims with what they're trying to communicate. Of course sometimes I simply want to create pretty pictures, other times I have a more specific theme or idea behind them. I think when it comes to my doll photography it's mostly about story telling. All of my dolls are based on characters I write about too so I like to marry the two as much as possible.
4. Who and what are your major influences in your photography?
Fashion and editorial photography is probably my biggest influence, it's probably one of the few areas of commercial photography we get thrown at us every day where the focus is on creating beautiful images, not just selling a product, though that's obviously a part of it. I think it's really important as a photographer and I guess artist in general to look at and draw inspiration from things outside your particular focus too, for instance I'm massively influenced in my personal projects by photographers like Zed Nelson and James Nachtwey, and definitely the laters general philosophy when it comes to photography and it's power as a medium.
In the doll world I'd definitely count doll photographers like Bluoxyde, Oso_polar, Sassystrawberry, jadecitronrouge, Yenna and so many more I can't even name them all as huge inspirations to me. They make me want to be more creative with my own work. We're so lucky these days, there's so many wonderfully creative photographers in the hobby an a huge wealth of stunning work.
5. Which of BJD photo of yours is your best to date in your opinion? Why?
Definitely this one. It's not the strongest technical photograph ever but I love that it often catches people out (especially the BJD uninitiated) at first glance. I love playing around with the idea of what is or isn't real and the fact that even though the dolls are so stylised and at the end of the day just high end plastic toys they can still get across ideas and connect with the viewer on a very human level.
6. You have quite a number of dolls in your collection. What draws you in and makes you want to buy a doll?
It depends really. I am a bit of a sucker for the 'omg want' factor when it comes to some dolls, I did get SOOM'ed a fair few times over the last few years too but on the whole I mostly try to choose dolls based on their suitability for the character I'm trying to find a doll for, especially as I have pretty broad taste when it comes to aesthetic. The technical artistry and engineering of a doll is a huge factor too, I've owned a lot of dolls from different companies over the years and the way a doll handles does tend to effect how likely they are to stick.
|The Coyotes Sing|
7. I love your custom dread wigs! They are so unique. How did your dread wigs commissions start?
Thank you so much! I'm always surprised my wigs have done so well because you'd think dreads would be a total niche without much demand. I started making them because I've always loved dreadlocks, I used to have them myself and I have a few characters in my stories who have them. So when the time came that I needed some for one of my dolls it was pretty much a case of make them myself or do without since the only other person who'd been making them consistently for BJDs who's wigs where of the quality and look I wanted before then had quit and it kind of went from there since people asked about potential commissions when I posted photos of Kanja's wig.
8. What's your favorite dread wig creation so far? Why?
That's really hard because I've made so many, some of which I never expected to work based on the colour combination but I was usually pleasantly surprised. My favourite though probably has to actually be the first wig I ever made for Kanja, my tan Ryu. Character wise he's a bit of a magpie so over the last couple of years his wig's accumulated all kinds of beads and bits and pieces of string and wire wraps, it's become such a part of the doll and his character I can't help but love it.
9. Describe the BJD hobby in 5 words!
Creative, passionate, contrary, fun, expensive!
10. What is the best experience you've had in the BJD hobby?
I've had so many great experiences in the hobby so it's difficult to pick just one, I think really the best experience in general will always be the experience of getting to know so many wonderful people, I've made so many of the best friends I've ever had through it. It's the people that really make the hobby for me, I'd probably still own my dolls if it wasn't for them but it's the community that make it really enjoyable, even if we do bicker among ourselves on occasion.
11. What frustrates your when you take photos? Are there some things you wish to improve on?
Much to my shame I do tend to get lazy sometimes with my doll photos and that really frustrates me since I know I can do better. My own impatience frustrates me too, since I'd love to build elaborate sets etc but I don't have the patience to pull it all together because I tend to be a bit flighty and jump between ideas a lot. It's something I'm really trying to work on. I think when it comes to any art it's important to recognise the things you need to improve on (not to beat yourself up over it but rather to acknowledge it and work through it) and that's pretty much a constant drive for me.
12. Lastly, is there anything you want to say to fellow BJD enthusiasts and do you have any tips for aspiring doll photographers?
This is kind of a tricky one because there's so much I could say but I think the most important thing I've learned over the years since joining the hobby is not to worry about what other people think of your dolls, at the end of the day it's your doll, your money and your hobby, what matters most is that you enjoy it, not that some stranger on the internet approves.
When it comes to photography, keep practicing, learn the rules of composition, get to know your equipment and what it can and can't do, and most importantly; learn to take critique in your stride and use it to help you improve. If critique isn't helpful ignore it and move on, don't get defensive, it's a total waste of your time and energy.
Also when it comes to equipment don't be in too big a rush to upgrade, there's a lot of people who once they get a doll decide they need a super expensive camera to go with it but really if a point and shoot meets your needs and budget then there's no point spending hundreds of dollars on a DSLR. Once you've outgrown it and want more technical control over your photos then of course it makes sense to upgrade but a better camera won't magically make you a better photographer if you don't have the basics down, a camera's just another tool, the same way that a paintbrush or pencil is to traditional artists.
Learn more about Lucy by visiting her Tumblr accounts and her deviantART. Her custom dread wigs can be purchased through her Etsy store.