It has been a while, but here it is: a brand new edition of #artistinthespotlight! Today, it’s the incredible photographer Rebecca Millen, from Freiburg, Germany. I have been a fan of her for quite some time, and when we got to work together, it was a dream come true. I love her very artistic yet dark style, and her way of editing is very typical for her work.
She is young and is just starting out, but her talent is unmistakable, and I’m sure we will see a lot of her in the future!
Find her on:
Tell us a bit about your style as an artist.
I’d see my works style as “darkart” with a quintessence of light. My portraits mainly show a low-key style, combined with shiny elements that pop out. Altough it evolved intuitively, this style says a lot about my philosophy and motivation regarding the portraits I do. Without getting to deep in the topic, I’d say, the experiences we make in the darker area of life give us not only struggle but also a new awareness of our maybe never that much realized strengths. The moods I work out show a sense of darkness, calmness, the silence it needs to focus and contemplate. I see a massive power in these moments which let us see the light within. The willing to fight for ouself, the much needed empathy and faith. It’s never easy to find them in your darkest hours. But if you do – and at some point we have to – the treasure of love within will guide you through. It’s always there, waiting for you to catch up again.
There are also works that are the opposite of dark, my high-key shoots, reflecting a very pure part of our human experience. I belive in the pureness of our soul. It is a kind of innocence that exists on a higher level of being, no matter who we are or what we do. And I love to create shoots with a high-key theme. Most important in my work is the harmony of colours and composition. I’m, by the way, a lover of symmetry.
Also very important for my works unique character is my essencial love for digital art and postproduction, which dominates my style. I digitally work out moods, colours and abstract elements a lot to intensivy the atmosphere and it all sometimes gets close to compositing. A lot of people call my editing style painterly and indeed, the techniques of digital painting influence my retouching style a lot. I did digital painting years ago and it felt like a very deep passion. I learned to pay attention to the threedimensionality of faces and how to gain realistic shading. That’s something I just couldn’t resist doing in my retouching as well. I really love to paint digitally. Though it needs a holy bunch of patience.
How do you feel you have grown since you started?
I started my portraits in 2017 just for myself. I didn’t have an idea of how deep and detailed my personal style would work out within weeks. It felt like this style had already been there completely, only waiting to get the chance and resources to come to life. Regarding this, I’d say I’ve grown in faith – faith for my own unique vision and way of working. Especially my collaborations with Designers gave my work a boost to advance in even bigger and deeper levels of imagination.
Completely new experiences came into my life. I’ve been invited to work in Paris, which was my first teamwork and at the same time my first experience of working in the role of an art director. At first it frightened me but it turned out a huge blessing and a lot of fun and magic. I realized, altough it felt like being thrown in at the deep end, that I was able to do more than I ever thought.
What were some of the hardest obstacles to overcome, especially when starting out?
Most of my portraits are selfportraits. Right from the start I was used to work alone and to do everything on my own: stylings, makeups and modeling. This gave me the comfort of doing everything in a very intense unbroken and uninfluenced flow. I’m nearly meditating while doing all of it. When I got to work with a team for the first time, I was very unsure if I’d be able to communicate clearly what I needed because I never had to do it before and I usually work very intuitively. Especially explaining those very subtle moods I like to have in the photos, mainly transported through the expression of the model, seemed challenging. But with experience, everything evolves and the insecurity regarding this fades.
Another thing that worried me right from the start was the labeling of my work. I tried to find an pseudonym fitting me and my style. But no matter how intense I thought about it, I just didn’t find anything that felt connected to me and sounded business-like enough. Till now, I’ve got my very first pseudonym “ShizukaPicture” on Instagram. I created it whilst my work was not published at all and I never thought I’d get this much recognition. However it has a meaning for me that is connected with my philosophy and style. Therefore that it is hard to remember, people recommended me to use my full name and that’s what I do now with most of my publication plattforms. It took me a lot of courage because I’ve always learned to keep myself in the background. Though I know this is something I need to learn: to be proud of my work and my name. Since I’ve started to work on a professional base for clients, I gained way more trust in the process of this.
Tell me one of your worst and best experiences so far.
As I’m still at the very beginning, I didn’t have noteworthy issues to deal with, luckily. All the people I get in touch to work with are truly amazing. Sometimes it’s happening that people like to engage me but think they could get it for the price of a shirt. But that’s a common issue in creative scenes and nothing that impacts me. There are always clients that honor the service and I’m always happy to serve them.
Generally, I go with the flow of my personal process. I force nothing, I take the chances and challenges and my intuitution never fools me. So that’s a very good “protector”. I know my boundaries of what I can do by now. I’ll evolve and make the field wider, but I’ll never try to get somwhere “no matter how”. That’s not how it’s working for me.
It’s hard for me to define one experience only that was the best. I appreciate so many opportunities I had and have. The first thing ever thrilling me was Hysteria Machine reaching out for me to collaborate. I knew her work and loved it and never would have dreamed of this. Just a little later, I got in touch with the Free Spirit Crew, which was a very exiting experience for me. I still feel surreal honored to be part of this Crew now. And there are more and more amazing things going on, I can’t term them all, but I’m absolutely grateful for all of them.
Who do you look up to as an artist?
A difficult question for me. I see a lot of insanely talented people in all fields of creative work that I get in touch with. I look up to all of them, every single one. But there is no hero I could define. I think, everyone is his own hero and that’s good because everyone has his own very unique vision and talent. Those characters I get to know always let me be in awe because of their whole presence, not only because of the the work they do – it is only the most recognizable expression of their greatness. It’s the whole being that fascinates me, their personality that inspires me.
What is the best advice someone has ever given to you about the industry?
Stay focused on your own style and way – stay straight in what you really want. That’s truly the best advice I ever got. And it’s all I need.
What are your achievements so far, and what would you like to accomplish in the future?
I expect the ability to create my work with all the support I get as a great achievement on its own. It’s my personal heaven, my blessing. I don’t count my successes. Life is a flow, the present the most precious thing we have.
There is only one wish I have for the future: getting better, doing more, making more people happy with what I can offer. That’s my goal.
What would you like to say to the readers of this blog?
First, thank you for your attention! If you read this, you’re definitly of the cool kind.
The only message I want to give, from my heart, is this:
Trust yourself, your intuitution – see your beauty, strength and invulnerable worth and honor it every single day. It will change your mind and your life.
All photos are made by Rebecca Millen Photography. Please respect the artist and do not copy or distribute these without proper credit.