“At university, I found the instant gratification of playing in iPhoto with a Canon Powershot easier than carving out time and space for other outlets,” explains conceptual photographer Sydni Indman to the Phoblographer. “At one point, my allergies became severe enough to essentially render me a shut-in for months, so I studied the masters’ still-life and produced such pieces as Laundry Basket Lid on the Floor.” Sydni has always been into creativity and evolving, from being a writer to being both a photographer and a musician. In fact, she tells us that she draws most of her creativity from music.
The Essential Photography Gear of Sydni Indman
- EIZO Calibrated monitor/Datacolor SpyderX. 100% Essential. If you can’t see your photos on a color-corrected monitor, you’re flying blind. And don’t even think about printing without one. The horror of seeing my photos on a calibrated monitor for the first time– completely different from what I thought I’d created–left enough of an impression to where even if the majority of the workflow is on a laptop screen, no monitor = no digital art. Period.
- Vello FreeWave Plus II remote trigger. Can’t be without it. Shooting can be physically exhausting, and relying on the timer would be downright masochistic at this point, particularly with multi-light setups.
- Flashpoint eVOLV200 flashes. Powerful, reliable, and portable. Pretty much the only thing they *don’t* do is pour your coffee. Currently, I use two and plan on adopting at least one more. Unless working in infrared, I almost always use artificial light, and can’t recommend these enough.
- Round light modifiers. Octaboxes, beauty dishes, and optical umbrellas (flagged to control spill), the first two being my favorites. The soft, wrapping, almost lunar shape more easily creates an ethereal/eerie look than a softbox.
- Gitzo tripod with ball head. Shooting conceptual images often means compositing, and ensuring that every capture has an identical camera position is critical. Extreme angles (as much as the space allows) speak to me; a ball head offers a range of motion and precise positioning.
- Canon EF 24-105 zoom. Rarely leaves my camera. While I love a wide or telephoto lens, most of the time I’m working in a small space, and this lens goes from plenty-wide to plenty-compressed capturing gorgeous, crystalline sharpness.
So how does Sydni gain inspiration from music? Well, she found that professional photography and design can get really expensive. Instead of hiring photographers, she learned how to do it herself. These days she mostly photographs people and then creates the rest of the composite in post-production.
“Photography and digital manipulation are simply different angles of attack to breathe life into the same underlying themes with the same aesthetic as one would through haunting sounds or dark, surrealistic paintings,” says Sydni.
Here are some of the recent places where Sydni has been drawing inspiration:
- Images that pop into her head while listening to music
- Exploring new locations. An uncluttered wall with windows.
- “The Power” by Naomi Alderman.
- “The Arabian Nights.
- “What if I could see psychological pain?” which is a question that came from the Visible Wounds project.
- What would it be like for this short, anxious female to be a badass male?
- Ridley Scott
- Personal life.
- Sylwia Markis.
- Bella Kotak
- Joe McNally
- David Hobby
- Aaron Nace
- Lindsay Adler
Sydni says a lot of what she wants to communicate is the sheer intensity of emotion. In fact, she sometimes finds the process frustrating with the resources at hand. For example, she wonders how to visualize the horror of a panic attack or the passion when hearing a song that hits really deep.
Art is an emissary from magic to mundane, illuminating the unseen. Crafting the practical is the hard part.
Colors and light are a big part of how Sydni expresses herself. “I gravitate toward lighting from below as it’s unnatural and thus unsettling, yet strangely beautiful,” she states. “Also, directional and dramatic light (particularly directly overhead) like in Renaissance art creates impact, forcing the eye through shadows and onto the subject.” She tends to begin with a focus on single colors and works from there. Because this isn’t close to real-life, it helps her make a dreamlike scene. She feels the same way about the selective color process.
“Lately, I’ve been working a lot in what I think of as ‘radioactive green,’ an ominous hue that conveys disconnection and alienation,” Sydni says. “Think sci-fi movies and music videos. Desaturated skin tones literally mimic bloodlessness, like when you turn pale after a vasovagal response.” Other pieces of hers skew more toward warmer tones.
About Sydni Indman
I am an artist and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in digital post-production. I pull from my background in drawing, painting, and music to create high-impact conceptual images and motion graphics. I primarily use photographic digital art as an illustrative medium to explicate a nexus between seen and unseen, beauty and darkness. Ever passionate about concepts of visual and auditory dissonance, my work embodies a shadowy aesthetic influenced by Art Nouveau, Surrealism, Classical sculpture, and Renaissance art. Music, nature, and books remain my primary inspirations for translating concepts into images.
The process begins in-camera with an emphasis on communicating mood through light. Photographs then evolve into digital art via post-processing, accompanied by lots of coffee and loud music.