An outburst on Facebook for yet another case in which the signal of a user who is deemed “offended” by the images of another user is likely to involve the removal of the gallery of an interesting graphic dreamer. This time it was Meryll Panthar, many of whose works can be seen on the Mondivirtuali group on Flickr, and this has intrigued us since Meryll usually does not produce images excessively spicey. So we wanted to contact her and introduce you to her work, having an interview with Meryll by Luciana Pinazzo. Have a nice reading.
Luciana Pinazzo: Hi Meryll, I’ve heard of some troubles for you on Flickr, hopefully it will be all ok, but since I admire your works since a while, I would like to asks some questions. First of all when do you start to take snapshots and create graphic dreams using Second Life editor and how did you develop this passion?
Meryll Panthar: I started to take pictures in SL in 2012. I was going through SL changes and starting to do costume design and building when my friend Victoria Lenoirre introduced me to the site Koinup. I knew Victoria made poses, but didn’t realize aside from profile pictures or product pictures what could be done with photos from Second Life.
L.P.: Do you prefer a few specific themes (fashion, portrait, landscapes, spicey pics and so on) or you just create depending on your mood and/or by the occasion (i.e.: when you see something worth, you just click)?
M.P.: I’ve dabbled in a little bit of every genre, blog and fashion, product photo, western, mythology, daily life, science fiction, fantasy, landscapes, even spicey. Mood is a huge part of how I work if I’m not feeling it I won’t do a picture.
L.P.: How much work there is behind your pics, are they edited through PS and/or Gimp (or any other software) or are your works just as they were shot?
M.P.: A lot of work goes into the pictures I do. Personally, because of the way I work, a simple backdrop doesn’t satisfy me. I’ve seen beautiful images done with green screen or backdrops, just for me it loses something when I’m shooting. I approach my pictures much in the way that a movie or television crew would, I scout locations looking at multiple sims until I find the one that fits and if I can’t find one I will build one with the help of my partner and husband, Bruce MacMoragh. Once the set is done then it’s the process of going through Windlight, finding the lighting I want and whether or not I want to enhance with tools such as face lights, scratch built lights or Lumipro etc. Once the shot is done I will then take it into Photoshop to correct minor things. Those small odd folds that our wireframe bodies sometimes have, or to add things like rain, smoke, fog, etc.
L.P.: Is it more important, for you: have imagination, have a good hardware/software to edit the works, have a “photographer’s eye”?
M.P.: For me imagination is everything. I like pictures that either tell a story or allow the viewer to tell their own story. Something that you can lose yourself in. The majority of my inspirations comes from imagination or my own or influenced by, novels, comic books, tv, movies, and traditional role playing games such as the old Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.
L.P.: What do you think about censorship and/or child protection on the web? Do you think there will be found an equilibrium point and how?
M.P.: Censorship is based a lot on antiquated notions and ideas. Why is it more acceptable to see a full nude of the female form than it is the male? We are still worldwide under a patriarchal society, and often times that is the source of censorship. I am for the equality of genders, many of my works are what would be called “girl power”. Even earlier when I talked about having shot adult related pictures, the female initiated the entire sequence. About child protection… This one is a touchy point for me. I actually had a woman lecture me on my responsibility to what children in her supervision would see on my Flickr stream.
Last time I checked I had no children under my supervision so it’s not my responsibility what a child does under someone else’s care and until she wants to start sending me child support payments it still won’t be my responsibility. I never marketed to children, I never put in key words to turn up in searches. What I do isn’t for everyone, and hopefully it will never be for everyone, some will like it some will hate it, and that’s as Art should be. I don’t think there will ever be a balance point on this issue in my lifetime unfortunately. Too many people find it too easy to blame others rather than to say yes, I messed up. It’s just far easier to complain.
L.P.: An advice for all those who like to became a graphic dreamer like you?
M.P.: The best advice I can give has come from others, do what you love. Don’t worry about trends, you are not always going to be liked. Develop a thick skin you will attract people who hate what you do or hate how you do things. You will cry, you will hurt, you will suffer. You will even quit. I know I’ve done all of these things, but if you truly love what you do and you see art in everything, not just what you are told is art you will dust yourself off and you will continue. Find people who you admire look at what they do, then stay true to yourself. I have multiple influences from both SL and RL, which include in no order or no particular favoring, Jim Lee, Wheelerwood Oppewal, Tim Burton, Bruce Tim, Victoria Lenoirre, Freyja Merryman, Sarrah Docherty, Robert Kirkman, Twinklestarlight, Larry Elmore, Bob Ross… the list could just go on forever so much respect and love to all my influences even if I didn’t name them all. So best advice I could give is love what you do, do what you love.