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Renee Robyn – Photographer and Digital Artist

Renee Robyn Photographer and Digital Artist
Renee Robyn

In this installment of the photographer interview series we're talking with photographer and digital artist Renee Robyn.

Renee Robyn is Canadian born and bred. Her career started out years ago in the modelling world but later she swapped sides of the lens. Her style has developed into an ethereal combination of fact and fiction, merging together expertly shot photographs of unique and interesting subjects with hours of meticulous retouching in Photoshop to create easily recognizable imagery that is both stunning and distinctively her own.

Learn to appreciate the cycle of being a creative and stop putting so much emotional weight on comparing what everyone else is doing versus you. It's your life, your own path, make the most of it, and forget the rest.

Renee Robyn

Who or what was your biggest influence in photography and why?
Figuring out photomanipulation was my biggest one. It took a while, but once I learned what was possible at my finger tips, it changed my entire process. I'd seen what digital artists could do, but most of them weren't photographers. So, being able to put the two pieces together really helped. As far as who caused that change? Probably a few hundred hours browsing the talented people over at deviantART. There's millions of them!
Some Alternative Fashion from a recent workshop in Holland
Hair & beauty from Holland workshop by Renee Robyn
What's your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
Booking a pretty face because she had exactly what I wanted and attempting to ignore her absolutely abysmal personality. It was one of the few times I almost quit photography, the experience was so horrible it's something I never want to repeat. I'll book someone who's not quite what I want with a great attitude over someone who is exactly what I want but a bad match in the personality department.
What is your biggest success or thing you're most proud of?
Renee's Instagram photo of Heavy Metal magazine
Renee's Instagram photo of her July Heavy Metal magazine artist gallery
I've been reading and admiring the artists within Heavy Metal Magazine ever since I was a young teenager. The artists that have graced those pages have influenced me greatly. Getting an artist gallery in there this summer was definitely something 16 year old me never would have imagined. I did more than a few happy dances when they first contacted me, and again when I finally saw it in my hands. Lofty goals sometimes do happen!
What's your one “can't live without it” piece of gear?
Photoshop, does that count? I can use whatever camera, lens, light… I'm not really tied to a specific brand. But, without Photoshop, my images would look much different.
Your favourite image you've ever taken and why?
I'd say my favourite image is the one I haven't made yet. However, I did some Call of Duty fan art with a friend of mine that literally resuscitated my career in photography from a massive creative burn out. There's also the girl jumping off the building with the semi translucent wings… I'm emotionally connected to that one as well, and I wrote a short post about it. Long story short, it represents what it's like to do something against the grain and against every ounce of your previously programmed self.
fully equipped soldiers appear to be on watch in this Call of Duty fan art
Call of Duty fan art

girl appears to be floating over a cityscape in this digital fantasy art

Your favourite image from another photographer and why?
Benjamin Von Wong's underwater work in Bali just kills me… I love underwater shooting, and he blew anything I've ever done completely out of the water – no pun intended. It's really inspiring, and having shot underwater myself, I can appreciate how much effort goes in to creating images when there's no oxygen and limited communication. Images like that really push the boundaries of what's possible with people who are committed, talented, and giving everything they can in the name of something bigger than themselves.
Underwater Photography
Underwater Photography
What one thing can then viewers do right now to improve their photography?
Stop comparing your behind the scenes to everyone else's final edit. Everyone knows something you don't, there will always be someone better, there will always be someone worse. Learn to appreciate the cycle of being a creative and stop putting so much emotional weight on comparing what everyone else is doing versus you. It's your life, your own path, make the most of it, and forget the rest.
If you could do it all over again would do anything differently? Photographically or life wise?
I get asked this question a lot, and to be honest, I'd probably floss my teeth more. It took all the events of my past to make me who I am today, and I've learned to be extremely grateful for every single scar, twitch, malfunction, and grace that I've got. We all get our beatings from life, I was no exception, but I'm finally mostly at peace with who I am… Minus all the cavities of course

Photographer Interview Series

See what makes professional photographers tick, learn about their favorite images and their greatest failures as well as their greatest successes. Check out others in this series below:

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  • Absolutely stunning digital manipulation. Well done

    • Renee Robyn

      *hugs*

  • Larry C

    Great article Darlene, it really hits the nail on the head regarding “staying true to your vision, which is so important.
    When I first met Renee she was sitting on a motorcycle in front of a back drop at a photo show ( you introduced us ) and I had a feeling this was a young person who had a ton of enthusiasm for photography. After visiting her “then” website, I witnessed phenomenal lighting technique and more creativity than I had seen in a long time. It has been an absolute pleasure watching her career skyrocket and by following her blog I have also discovered numerous other talented artists on both sides of the lens. I am looking forward to her first coffee table book.

    • Thanks Larry we’re pretty proud to know her as a friend!

      • Renee Robyn

        You’re awesomesauce. Thanks for asking me to do this!

    • Renee Robyn

      Ahh, you’re so sweet, thank you! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the evolution, and thank you for staying with it!

  • Grisel Kastre-jon

    Wow, this is great article and I love her words:
    “Stop comparing your behind the scenes to everyone else’s final edit. Everyone knows something you don’t, there will always be someone better, there will always be someone worse. Learn to appreciate the cycle of
    being creative and stop putting so much emotional weight on comparing what everyone else is doing versus you. It’s your life, your own path, make the most of it, and forget the rest.”

    Very inspirational… love it!

    • Renee Robyn

      🙂 I’m glad you like it! Thanks for reading!

  • Love the photography, but love her honesty more.

    • Renee Robyn

      Thank you very much! 🙂

  • roxanebay

    Nice interview! Words well said. “stop putting so much emotional
    weight on comparing what everyone else is doing” Words every creative
    person should listen to. Inspiration is one thing, but creating your
    “Own” art and Owning it is what it should be all about. BTW…Did SM
    send you the bottle/cup ?

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