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Dirk Wüstenhagen Transports Us to the Stars Via Magical Photographs

“My pictures provide a sort of escape from on a regular basis life–a departure right into a fantasy world,” the photographer and digital artist Dirk Wüstenhagen tells me. Up In Smoke, created within the fall of 2020, wasn’t instantly impressed by the pandemic, however he admits that maybe the mini-series does converse, in some methods, to the collective eager for freedom and journey all of us felt after months of journey restrictions.

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In every of the 4 pictures within the sequence, a solitary determine explores an in any other case abnormal world, whereas his thoughts turns to the fantastical, as illustrated by the starry plumes of smoke rising from his head like interstellar clouds. A yr after the Occasion Horizon Telescope made astronomy historical past by capturing the first-ever {photograph} of an “unseeable” black gap, Wüstenhagen invited us to discover the unseen contours of the human creativeness.

We requested the artist (featured beforehand) to stroll us by his course of.

The Important gear of Dirk Wüstenhagen

Wüstenhagen tells us, 

“All of the landscapes have been shot a couple of years in the past with my Canon EOS 760D and Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5 lens. The fashions have been shot with the identical digital camera and the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. All of the RAW information are first edited in Lightroom after which exported as psd-files into Photoshop (PS). Inside PS, I used choice instruments, a wide range of brushes, colour results, and the standard changes to create the ultimate pictures.”

What’s in your thoughts

Phoblographer: You first embarked in your journey as a lens-based artist once you began utilizing Photoshop to develop your fashion and sensibility. Do you think about your self a photographer or digital artist? How do you outline your follow?

Dirk Wüstenhagen: I are inclined to say that I’m each. I really like going out taking pictures images and capturing nature, landscapes, and other people. That’s one thing I actually take pleasure in. I additionally dedicate a number of time to digital artwork. For me, it’s a great technique to be extra artistic and notice my concepts.

Phoblographer: How and when did the thought for Up In Smoke

Dirk Wüstenhagen: Trying again, I’m really undecided what initially drove me to create these pictures. I do not forget that I wished to make one thing within the realm of digital double exposures. The principle thought was to have one thing coming off of a man’s head, representing one thing radically totally different from his precise environment. I preferred the thought of introducing one thing colourful to distinction with these boring, monochrome landscapes. Thematically, I discovered it intriguing to mix an on a regular basis scene with one thing very summary and distant, just like the galaxies and stellar nebulae that I lastly used.


Phoblographer: Are you able to stroll me by the method of making these pictures? What was performed in-camera?

Dirk Wüstenhagen: When I’ve a tough thought of what I need to create, I begin looking for appropriate pictures. Within the case of those pictures, I appeared for reasonably regular, boring, misty landscapes. In three circumstances, these landscapes have been taken from my archives, although for the picture Daydreamer, I solely used a lower out of a mannequin I shot and created the background from scratch.

All the opposite lone figures are self-portraits, however the character is supposed to characterize anybody, as I favor to go away the interpretation as much as the viewer. The smoke plumes are clouds or precise smoke I shot over the past yr. I had created Photoshop brushes of a few of these and used these extensively for the creation of the smoke plumes in these pictures.

Phoblographer: Did you shoot the unique photos understanding roughly what you’d create with them, or did you maintain onto them for some time and dream up the ultimate end result later down the highway?

Dirk Wüstenhagen: I often don’t exit with the intention of looking for appropriate scenes for particular initiatives. Solely in circumstances the place I completely can’t discover something do I shoot one thing new and tailored for a undertaking. Normally, I’ve an thought first, after which I seek for appropriate pictures in my current archives. When I’m out taking pictures, I discover locations that I do know I can use later in lots of contexts. That was the case right here. The backgrounds I used have been created in my neighborhood. There’s a small forest and park the place I typically take a stroll to calm down, and I really feel fairly at dwelling there.

Phoblographer: What steps have been concerned in post-production? What did that course of appear to be?

Dirk Wüstenhagen: The photographs have been created over the span of three days, and you’ll see the method layer-by-layer within the video above. I didn’t create any of those in only one go. I suppose I began with one and stopped after I hit an issue, returning to it later. The smoke was a problem as a result of it was fairly troublesome to get the colours proper. There’s typically a number of trial and error concerned. Once I acquired caught, I used to be in a position to take a break for some time and concentrate on different stuff earlier than I began anew and located a satisfying resolution.

Phoblographer: How did you create these starburst results?

Dirk Wüstenhagen: After I created the smoke from the brushes I made, I added stars, mud, mild, and colour results, referring to out there pictures from NASA/ESA as inspiration. I have to admit that these pictures are fascinating. I really like to observe applications coping with astronomy and be taught concerning the origins of the universe, black holes, and our Photo voltaic System.

There’s extra past the apparent

Phoblographer: You’ve mentioned the function of solitude in your work up to now. You made these pictures in the course of the pandemic, is that proper? Did the isolation of this time affect the creation of this work in any method?

Dirk Wüstenhagen: By the point I made these pictures in September of 2020, the state of affairs concerning COVID wasn’t that strict in Germany. You solely needed to isolate if contaminated. So the pandemic had no direct affect, however, in fact, it was additionally one thing that one couldn’t ignore, so there could be some residual impression in spite of everything.

For extra from Dirk Wüstenhagen, go to his web site. Observe alongside on Instagram at dyrkwyst, on Fb at DirkWuestenhagenImagery, and on Behance at DirkWuestenhagen.  

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