Five questions with Lytro ambassador and diorama photographer Lori Nix
We had the chance to sit down with diorama artist and photographer Lori Nix to pick her brain on her experiences shooting with LYTRO ILLUM. Lori serves as one of the original LYTRO ILLUM ambassadors, a select group of creative pioneers who piloted the camera during its development. Read more to see what Lori thinks about light field photography, and be sure to check out the gallery of Lori’s work with LYTRO ILLUM!
Q: How did you get into dioramas?
A: During my time as an undergrad, I studied things like ceramics and woodworking. I always preferred to build things with my hands rather than sit at a computer. Making images for the camera was a natural step for me.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the humor (sometimes dark) that your work is known for?
A: Not that there’s humor in tragedy, but humor kind of tempers the bad stuff in life. It fits with my personality. I grew up in Kansas and Arkansas, so my childhood was full of tornadoes, hailstorms, blizzards, floods, insects, etc. For a kid, that’s all kind of fun. My parents kept us safe, but they didn’t let us freak out over those things.
Q: Before LYTRO ILLUM, had you experimented with many other camera technologies?
A: I haven’t experimented much with other cameras, but I’ve tried many, many different processes — everything from platinum to palladium to wet plate to Van Dyke — just to make more dynamic images and know as much as possible.
Q: How did LYTRO ILLUM affect your approach to composing your images?
A: It’s liberating. Usually I have to think about where I want to focus. Here, everything was going to be in focus. However, because it focuses on all planes, it creates more work. I can’t make the camera lie. Before, I knew the camera would be blurry in some places. I usually don’t want to cut corners anyway, so it was liberating. I also have the chance to hide more; to give the viewer more and more things to see and find, kind of like “Where’s Waldo.”
Q: What role do you see light field cameras playing in the future of your industry?
A: When I get to lecture students and we’re talking about future, I tell them they have to be more than photographers. They have to create content for the Web and the iPad. They need to pick up as many skills as possible. Lytro is definitely for computer consumption. I could see it being embedded in iBooks or kids books, for instance. Kids could interact with photos as if they’re reading book. They are already naturally poking the screen anyway. We could make it more interactive. The way things are going, we have to learn to entertain people 24/7. On the fine art side of what I do, I make a lot of prints to hang on wall. In the future, maybe we don’t display photographs — maybe it will just be interactive images.