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Ethereal photography: A chat with Stylish Sinner

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Ethereal photography is a type of surrealism photography which Stylish Sinner practices. In this chat, he tells me all about it, and how he achieves his end product as an ethereal photographer.
Stylish Sinner

Ethereal photography is a style of surreal photography that Stylish Sinner, the photographer in today’s feature, practices.

Surrealism is a style of photography that relies on heavy photo manipulation to transform regular photos into otherworldly images. They’re meant to make the viewer feel like they’re viewing images from another dimension.

Stylish Sinner is a photographer with just under 10 years of experience and four years of professional experience as an ethereal photographer. His Instagram page is a wonderland of colours, trippy vibes, and aesthetic perfection. See some photos below.

His journey into his world of Ethereal Photography started as a hobby. As with most creatives, he saw the potential and it became a major niche. Read my discussion with Stylish Sinner below.

So I know you as a surreal photographer, but you say you’re not. Tell us who you are and what you do.

I like to term my work ethereal because it has this spiritual vibe, so I call it ethereal. But the execution is close to how surrealism is executed.

Now, surrealism, you could say, is exposing pictures in ways that look unreal but still real to an extent.

How do you achieve the pictures in your portfolio? Your ethereal pictures?

With the help of artificial light and shutter drag effect which is basically the most creative part of the production process. But the main thing is to have an open creative mind and a different attitude to photography because you can’t use the same techniques twice and get the exact same results when you do what I do.

I sometimes see your pictures and think they’re mistakes that just happened to come out right. So is there a level of experience or a special technique that a photographer has to have to attempt what you do?

Yeah, you have to have experience even if you have the knowledge of it. I remember when I started, I didn’t take pictures like this. I don’t think it’s advisable to just delve into this from the beginning. From the get go.

You should have a vast idea of how to take regular pictures first of all because you can’t get the effects [in surreal or ethereal photography] with just auto focus. You have to understand how to work a manual camera and manual settings before you try this.

You should know the basics of composition, of photography, of everything, basically.

Is there a specific equipment to use in ethereal photography? In short, tell us what you use when you’re working.

I work with a lot of colour gels, LED lights, gradients, snoots… whatever I can find basically, I equip myself with it for that shoot. Then working in dark spaces also really helps me.

So no special camera specifications? As long as it can take good photos, your cool with it?

Yeah.

Awesome. So, why do you think it’s not popular in Nigeria? Although I see people trying to experiment, but it hasn’t really taken off. Why do you think it’s so?

I’ll say it’s both popular and not popular. It’s popular among many creatives, especially music artistes. They like to use it for their branding.

But photographers would rather stick to what pays the bills because people are just looking for normal commercial photography.

Except you’re a photographer trying to do an editorial or you’re just looking to be outside of the norm, I don’t think this style of photography will catch your attention. But people know about it. It’s just too risky to go into, because not many people are willing to pay for shoots like these.

Apart from being an amazing photographer and ethereal artiste, Stylish Sinner is also a stylist and creative director for a lot of brands. He’s been published, and has worked in many shows and tours for artistes.

He’s also a passionate youth who loves to support causes that allow young men and women be themselves.

Follow his Instagram and interact with him to learn more about this unique style of photography.

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