Impressionist Photography

Impressionist Photography: a parallel world


By Camilla Lundbak



This article is a contribution on the topic of impressionist photography; it sets out how I have made impressionist photography a core part of my style. The idea of writing it came about in an exchange with Mike Thornton at Giclee Print, who gave beautiful life to >>a collection<< of my impressionist images.  

Above are three examples of my work: 'Companionship' (right) won an award in the North Shore Salon of Photography 2010, 'Fast Forward' (middle) was exhibited at the New Zealand Art Show 2010 and 'Two Sides' (left) is one of my personal favourites.




A photographer’s style is a result of the traits and personality of the person holding the camera.


Instantly, impressionist photography resonated with me. Perhaps this reflected that I spent my teens on a national stage delivering moving images (well, ballet). Two performances were never the same but a result of different components coming together (orchestra, dancers etc.) – and what the viewer took from it.


To me, impressionist photography has many of the same qualities.

Breaking the rules


In photography, I have learned (and am still very much learning!) about composition, camera functionalities and general tips to generate appealing images. Impressionist photography is encouraging me to explore circumstances where moving away from some of those learnings will provide for an interesting alternative image.


There are, of course, good reasons as to why certain learnings in photography are generally accepted or relied upon. They will more likely than not work to your advantage! I therefore find that the process of generating impressionist images is a little delicate. It is perhaps similar to the challenge of a cinematographer that wants to display “chaos” on film. It is all too easy to loose the meaning and end up with a confusing result with low(er) aesthetic quality.

My style


My own key focus when taking impressionist photos is to generate reasonably simple compositions. The choice as to what I draw attention to in a composition is guided by what I feel the moment I take the shot.


For the composition not to become “dull” or “too simple”, I try to insert “gaps” (for example, blur or movement) into my works using in-camera techniques. My intention is to encourage the viewer to add his or her own meaning to it – to fill in the gaps. In doing so, I hope to offer a different “richness” or aesthetic quality in an image.


A friend (thank you Alexis!) recently commented on my images and said that they seemed to be a ‘parallel world of dreams’. I think that very well captures what I strive for in my impressionist photographic images – as dreams can be clear yet have many different meanings and interpretations.


My 5 top tips


In going out there to shoot impressionist images, these are my five top tips:

  • Lines: a completely blurry (or “chaotic”) image is hard for a viewer to engage with so I try to provide some lines or shapes that eyes can rest on;


  • Light: I never use flash but instead make use of existing light sources;

  • Duo-pod” is the way to go! The duo-pod is really my own two legs. I found that it was crucial to build on my skills in moving the body and camera as if it was one piece. It is very much like dancing with it;

  • Techniques: I focus on in-camera techniques – to let the moment inspire the effects. I have tended to find that my own images work better when keeping closely to the original situation. So none of my effects (blur, movement etc.) are generated through post-production, and I limit changes to the image to slight adjustments in tonal levels; and

  • Cropping: when shooting, I go wider than “normally” – when introducing movement to the camera, it more often than not means cropping will add value to the image.  


Further information?


Now this was my route into impressionist photography - and the journey is ongoing. In the >>Galleries<< of this site you will see examples of my work. To learn more about me, have a look at >>Meet FreeflyWall<<.



Many thanks for reading this :)


Impressionist Photography

Learn about how I have blended impressionism into my style of photography in this >>article<<


Case Study

FreeflyWall produced >>bespoke art work<< for The Space in Wellington CBD.