Rebecca Millen – a 23 y/o autodidact from Germany. She loves to combine the passion for photography, digital art, makeup and fashion to express her creativity and to create images that get in resonance with peoples fantasy and emotions, visualizing the poetry of our inner world. rebecca started doing artistic portraits in 2017 without any expectations. The great and fast feedback she got led her to keep going and evolve her own style.
DIYP: Tell us a little of how you got into photography, and who your influences are?
RM: Photography was a kind of creative expression for me since I discovered the analog camera of my mother when I was young. It fascinated me instantly. Although the connection to photography faded over my teenage time, it later kept popping up into my life. I started focusing on photography in a more serious way while I discovered my passion for retouching and photoshop overall. It turned out a huge passion to create stylings, makeup, and concepts, playing with colours and materials.
My main influences are my own experiences. I create on the base of my passions and feelings. I wouldn’t say that there was a specific influence from the outside. I always was very focused on my own creating process.
DIYP: Your body of work has a real low key feel to the portraits which is unusual but stunning, is this dark style something that evolved over time or a style you started with?
RM: Indeed this personal style of mine evolved, but it evolved quickly. The first portraits I retouched were quite ordinary. I orientated myself at the industry retouching works to be able to compare and to see in which way I felt the need to get better. At the point I felt confident enough about my skill, I automatically started working more out of the box and experimented freely which led me to this dark style in a natural and intuitive way.
DIYP: A lot of your images are self-portraits, does this make the image creation process easier or more difficult?
RM: Both. There are a lot of advantages regarding self-portraits. It gives the opportunity to make extremely spontaneous shoots and to work out of the comfort zone. I am free to change my whole concepts during the shoot or to try out tricky variations. When I do self-portraits, I always take a lot of time, so I don’t get under the pressure of finishing before I feel that I really got what I wanted. I appreciate the flexibility and patience I can bring on this a lot.
Of course, doing everything on your own, from styling to the final images, is way more time and energy consuming than working with a team. I highly appreciate the skills of each professional in such a team, enriching the final work. Designers and stylists are often able to fix things in a way I couldn’t do on my own. It’s always a great pleasure to see different talents coming together and working out a concept to its best result.
DIYP: For anyone starting out with the desire to create dark beauty style portraits like yourself, what advice would you give them about finding inspiration?
RM: Sources of inspiration can be very different but I think the biggest source and one that will never end is your own story, your own life and life experience and the feelings you’ve got. Getting in touch with this kind of inspiration will give your work the unique style it deserves, a style that no one could ever do like you because no one ever lived your life and felt your feelings. It might take some courage because this means it’s getting personal. But in my eyes, this is what art makes intense and unforgettable because it’s authentic.
Try whatever appeals to you, whatever makes you feel passionate. Powerful art, art that touches people, mostly comes from strong feelings, it evolves through our desire to express ourselves. A free and opened mind is the base to let creativity flow through and often it doesn’t need more than that. The magic it needs to touch our inner muse is everywhere.
DIYP: How important is Photoshop in your workflow, would you be able to create your images without it?
RM: Photoshop is very important to my work. If I couldn’t use it, the style and atmosphere in my photos would change completely. The portraits I take work like a base on which I later create my own universe. I’m madly in love with post-production, it gives nearly unlimited opportunities to bring things alive that would be very hard or actually not possible to create without it. Photoshop is my door to the colorful invisible world which I love and need to invite into my works.
DIYP: Working in more of a niche market than the typical photographer, do you find this a benefit or a help?
RM: The creative field I’m working in is far from competitive thinking, people are working together and building communities. This is what makes all participating grow and of course, the final work benefits from it massively. It definitely helps me to feel free to create my own style and there is a lot of support coming from other creative minds. I get in touch with people who have feelings and thoughts about my work that let me know, what I do is meaningful. It touches and rises their own creativity and spirit and that’s absolutely great.
DIYP: Out of all your projects, which had the most impact on your life?
RM: I couldn’t say that there was one project more significant than another. Everything is built on each other and led me to where I am. The most impact is the people that get attracted to it and step into my life. Regarding this, collaborating with teams always has a great effect on me and my work.
DIYP: If you were only allowed to give one essential piece of advice to a beginner, what would it be?
RM: Never doubt yourself! This actually is an advice I’d give in general but also regarding beginning something new. If something feels good from your deepest heart, just do it. Honor every little success, the whole process of your self-expression. There’ll be people that might not like or understand what you do or the direction you’re going. Don’t let the negativity of others sow seeds of doubt in your mind. Everyone is unique and therefore we’ve got unique talents and unique paths we walk.
DIYP: What cool projects do you have lined up for 2018?
RM: In 2018 I’ve planned collaborations with designers, new ones, and ones I’ve worked with before, and I’ll travel quite a bit for creative projects. I’m especially looking forward to meeting some unique characters of the scene. Overall, it definitely will be a year of meeting up and connecting.
DIYP: Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years time?
RM: I’d love to focus on my creative path even more and to be able to reach out to more people to inspire them. I’m open to whatever my path will bring up. Life is like a sea, sometimes stormy, sometimes calm, unpredictable. We reach havens and leave them again to evolve in new adventures. In the end, it’s up to us to give our best, everything else is a present of the sea and it’s always leading somewhere. Possibilities are endless.