Image by Rui de Matos
Image by Rui de Matos
Leda captured by Gwen Aloix (interview with SL Photographers Series)
Image by Leda Carter
Meet SL Photographer & Designer: Gwen Aloix
I have had the hardest time deciding which section this interview belongs in. That’s because Gwen Aloix is a jack of all trades! Her clothing line is beautifully made; she creates gorgeous skin; and lastly, but not the least, her photography makes you fall in love with your own avatar. As many of you, I check out Flickr streams often for either finding a new face on the scene to watch their development & growth, or established photographers who inspire us with their art and talent. I stumbled on Gwen’s Flickr about a year ago and was simply mesmerized by all work. I am not a fan of morph pictures – if I want an RL photograph, I will just make one. What I love about Gwen’s photography is that she makes the avatar come to life fully, without tricking us to think we are looking at a photograph from RL.
I was fortunate enough to find Gwen in between projects and with some time to spare so that I could introduce her to our readers. I arrived at Gwen’s studio a bit discombobulated because I was running late. She could not have been sweeter to put me at ease, and also help me prepare for the photo shoot. One reason I like to have a photo shoot as an interview session is that you get to experience the photographers in their element. Gwen was a joy, as you will read. Another reason, and perhaps a more important one, is that to have the same avatar photographed by different photographers makes their style more visible because you will be comparing apples to apples in a way. It also adds an element of fun to see how the deal with my often insane hairs.
Leda Carter: Thank you so much for your time, Gwen. I have told you before that I admire your work. Although, your flickr stream starts around 2012. Tell us about your photography journey.
Gwen Aloix: I have liked photography and drawing forever! I don’t remember when it was that I began to take pictures and edit them. I used to take photos of my Second Life friends, until one day someone recommended that I blog my work, so that everyone could see it. That’s when I created an account on flickr.
Leda: How did you find out about SL?
Gwen: My boyfriend introduced me to SL! I played the sims, but wanted something better, with online users where avatars could meet other people, chat and create a community. To be honest, at first, I was disappointed, because I did not know how it worked. Also, people thought I was an alt of someone, and would not help me. After four months, I decided to try again. I met a girl who was very nice, and introduced me to how I could enjoy SL. Today, I can say it has been better than my expectations.
Leda: Did you face particular challenges in becoming a pro photographer?
Gwen: Well, I really didn’t have challenges. I always did pictures for my friends, and people would ask them who made the picture. So, they started coming to me to do their photos, and along the way I gained more experience too.
When I started on Flickr, I saw many SL photographs. One of my main inspirations came from the work of Graphic-Dix! I was in love with all his pictures. It was what motivated me to want to learn more and more about image editing! I started watching tutorials, searching techniques and practicing, until I discovered my own style.
Leda: Yes, you certainly have your own style. Speaking of style, you have started your own clothing and skin line. How did that come about?
Gwen: With skins, it was something I had to learn, since I always wanted a custom skin, a unique face, but no one really did that. So, I had to learn so that I could have my avatar the way I wanted it. I looked for a tutorial online and started working on it! When my friends started asking me to make skins for them, I decide to open a store. It was basically the same thing with clothes!! *laughs*
Leda: Does that mean your designs reflect your personal taste?
Gwen: When I started to make clothes for my first store (called Lapin Rose), I just made things for me. I didn’t really care if everyone like it or not! *laughs* But, now with lowen, I do try to see what people are looking for, waiting for, and I try to make them but still in my own taste. If I don’t like something, I never make it.
Leda: Who is Gwen’s typist? Does she have fashion or photography experience?
Gwen: I am 22 years old and from Brazil, with Indian, Italian and German heritage. I have always been a curious person, and try to learn and do everything by myself. Oh, and my astrological sign is Cancer! *smiles*
I work as fashion producer & stylist for a local TV station here. I am the one they call to dress up actors and do their makeup when they are making TV commercials. In addition, I started learning to be a graphic designer, and today I do both of those things! I am very lucky to have the work I love to do. Like I said, I always love to draw, paint, do pictures, and all that. So, sometimes, when I have made a drawing, I put in PS and try to paint. In the beginning, I used to use a mouse, but the paint that comes with that is so horrible!
Anyways, I have worked with absolutely everything in the fashion world – from makeup artist to model. So, the life in SL is something I have always been involved with in RL.
Leda: What are some of the other things you enjoy about SL?
Gwen: I am a very shy person, and when I moved from my hometown, I felt a little lonely without my childhood friends. In SL, I have made some very good friends, and have met some of them in RL too! Besides the friendships I have formed, SL gives me the freedom to express myself, to create what I want, and that is really cool.
Leda: It is really cool! What is also cool is that you have shared yourself with us here. Thank you so much for your time. And, I have to tell you that I love seeing Leda through your eyes. That’s a beautiful piece of work! Thank you.