There is a fine line between things looking too costume or artsy and not "fashion" enough. Malorie Shmyr’s would ideally like her images to lean more towards the fashion side with a dash of artsy, however her instincts are always more artsy with a dash of fashion. This is a balance she has been trying to maneuver and has to make a conscious effort and question choices being made throughout the process. For the series Fashion Bugs, the Canadian photographer decided to challenge herself to create a series with a balance of art and fashion that was inspired by the insect world.
Malorie is inspired by the color combinations, symmetry, and patterns of the insect world and loves how mysterious insects can when they are zooming around so quickly. Taking a hands-on DIY approach, she painted the backdrop with graphic outlines of leaves and made a hat for each look. Her background is in props building for film and television, so building things comes second nature to her.
One of Malorie’s mother's favorite insects are fuzzy caterpillars because of how they slink along and how fuzzy they are, Malorie recalls directing the model to slink and curl her body forward like she was a sleepy, mischievously slinking caterpillar. Additionally, for this shoot Malorie and her mother put together each outfit based around the headpieces for each insect; beetle, moth, praying mantis and caterpillar.
Continuous lighting was used for the Fashion Bugs series – Malorie learned lighting through observing on-set lighting set-ups on film and television sets. Continuous lighting also makes switching between filming video and taking photos easier than having to change from flashguns to video lights. The photographs were captured using a slow shutter speed for a blurred effect in order to recreate the look of a bug flying by. Malorie then shot additional images of the model with a normal shutter speed. These images were then composited together, after which she overlayed another image which had stretched out colors and sections of the image. Taking a thoughtful and meticulous approach to creating her work, she treats the image more like a painting rather than a photograph.
Although, there are many who are against using Photoshop to manipulate images, Malorie’s process does not end in the camera and she views Photoshop as just another type of "paint brush" to create imagery with. While she’s aware of the negative effects that overly processed images can have on the self-confidence of viewers, Malorie can also see the benefits of viewing beautiful and idealistic imagery too. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with hard realities on the daily, she believes creating surrealist imagery, or "idealistic" imagery can be an important break for our minds and imaginations, almost like an antidote to a world filled with so much unfiltered negativity.
Malorie says that working with a team is one of the best ways to grow as an artist because you can push each other and find yourself in creative spaces you wouldn't have been able to arrive in on your own. Her images couldn't be created if it weren't for every single team member contributing to it. But she also stresses the importance of finding a team where everyone has the same goals for the shoot and reason for creating, as this creates a safe place for everyone to push themselves and to know it's okay to try new things even if they don't work out. Having a team where you feel safe enough to experiment and play is a space where you can create your best work. Supporting each other is key! This year sees Malorie moving to Berlin, Germany in January 2020, she can’t wait to see how her work evolves with the influence of a city so rich with history and culture.
Fashion Bugs Image Credits: Makeup - Rebecca Nantel |Photographer - Malorie Shmyr | Stylists - Malorie Shmyr & Sandra Shmyr | Model - Nat Andreas