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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Colin Anderson: Visual Alchemy

Colin Anderson’s high-impact, hyperstylized imagery is proving that, with digital photography, the only limitation is your imagination

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Colin Anderson says that as a professional image-maker, it’s his singular goal to make people want to stop and look harder. “I’m a very curious person and always have been,” he says. “I love to know how things work. When I watch a movie, I’m constantly analyzing it and trying to figure out how something was done or how it was lit or why does the composition work so well. Why, why, why? I watch how people move, how they hold their hands, tilt their heads when they’re fascinated with something. I make a mental note of it and try to re-create it.

“Everything is about layers that go into building an image,” he continues. “This is where my ideas and inspiration come from. When I’m shooting a model, I don’t let them jump around and strike a million poses and go through their routine. Many times, I’ll actually position their heads, hands, legs or whatever to get the look I’m after. It’s very structured and unromantic. I’m not interested in capturing someone’s soul; I’m after my own soul.”

Anderson is also lost in a world of fantasy. His exciting universe of sci-fi, action and adventure stills brings an almost literary approach to commercial photography, and it’s an approach that has landed him a diverse gamut of clients, including Dell, Microsoft, Panasonic, Canon, Kodak, MTV, Warner Bros., and many more. He’s an absolute master of image enhancement, blending romanticism, humor and fantasy together, as well as any number of image elements, some that he shoots and some that he puts together from scratch, into a world where androids muse at fluttering butterflies, music notes run through grassy fields and exotic female super-spies react to exploding cars and scale Big Ben.

The portfolios on his unique website are divided into titled chapters, Beauty, Adventure, Legends, Ship Wrecked, Surreal, Hazard Pay, Robots, Romance, Space, Green, Financial and Performance. It’s an unusual way to present your work, especially for a commercial photographer, and Anderson says that while his clients may vary from IT guys to music companies to high-fashion editorial work, they all approach him because they want to convey a story or an idea somehow, and he’s the photographer who will be able to get their message across.

For someone steeped so deeply in his own imagination, Anderson also has an incredible head for business. He’s active on the social media front, with Facebook and Twitter accounts, and he uses his blog (www.colinanderson1.wordpress.com) as a place to share the smoke and mirrors behind his work, posting dissections of his composited images and complicated workflows. Anderson also helped to found Blend Images (www.blendimages.com), a site that offers more than 100,000 ethnically diverse, royalty-free and rights-managed images. As if all of this isn’t enough, he’s making the move into film, as well, thanks to the video possibilities of his Canon EOS 5D Mark II. He has completed two shorts already that are posted to his Vimeo channel (www.vimeo.com/colinanderson). He’s a workaholic in the extreme, and his finely tuned imagery reflects his intense dedication to his craft.


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