I first discovered Ryn Clarke’s artwork online during the shutdown. Her surreal photo composites became a much needed counterbalance to the uncertainty of daily life. As the pandemic took hold and spun things we’d taken for granted upside down, Ryn’s work was otherworldly in the opposite direction. Her swirling nature scenes revolved around a calming center, the eye of the emotional hurricane.
For those of you new to the notion of composite photography, it’s essentially a visual magic trick – a sleight of Photoshop hand that creates the illusion of a new reality. And much like a magic trick, the technique must be flawless or the illusion is lost.
I hope you enjoy both her work and her story.
During the pandemic lockdown, I took my three dogs for long walks around the neighborhood and in the woods. It was the only thing I could do outside my house. Simultaneously the weather in Ohio was getting better as spring was approaching. Unlike previous strolls, however, I started really noticing what was around me – the trees were leafing out, the flowers were beginning to bloom, and the landscape was turning green. So with the help of my camera and iPhone, I began to document the arrival of spring.
A couple of years ago I took a workshop on composite photography, but I never did anything with it. With everything coming to a screeching halt and spending so much time at home, I decided to play with the composite ability again. The idea of taking the images from my walks and bringing in other images I had taken previously into a digital collage began to bubble up in my head.
Additionally, the more I spoke with people the more I felt a sense of sadness, loneliness, and isolation out there. What could I do to help? I realized I could create stories with my composites that were colorful and happy, and share them on social media and see where they would go. That’s how it all started to evolve. I just wanted to make people feel good and put a smile on their face.
I have always been a creative person – never one to be at a loss for inspiration. Before Ohio’s stay-at-home order, I was on the road every other week giving iPhone Photography workshops to various groups all over the country. When visiting different cities, my camera or iPhone was always a constant companion as I added images to my already bulging library. The pandemic put my travels to a screeching halt! Switching gears, my neighborhood and nearby woods became my daily inspiration and creative outlet.
So I guess the only thing that has changed for me is the location of my creative visions.
Living life as an artistic person is an adventure into observing and expressing run-of-the-mill achievements. Our lives were dramatically restricted during this pandemic, constraining our means of working, socializing, and even shopping for food. After the fear and sadness set in, I started searching for ways to connect using my art. Letting my mind wander during these anxiety-filled moments of boredom, I began producing these fantastical landscapes, challenging myself to produce one elaborate creation each day, allowing my creations to step front and center for a while. This could have become an obstacle but I think creative people try to find ways around obstacles. They don’t see them as roadblocks but as opportunities.”– Ryn Clarke
Thank you Ryn for sharing your gorgeous creations! Looking forward to what tomorrow brings.
You can find her work online on her website, or give her a follow on Instagram at @rynclarkephotography .