Interview with Photographer Antti Karppinen, Part 2

Welcome back for the conclusion in our chat with Antti Karppinen, an internationally awarded commercial photographer, digital artist, and retoucher from Finland.

Read Part One here.


Airship Ambasador: What differences are there in shooting on various sized budgets? What freedoms and limitations are there?

Antti Karppinen: For this shoot we had a limited budget, basically our budget was our time. It’s great that regardless of the budget we managed to pull off world class images! When shooting big commercial campaigns there is always lots of people in the shoot, I would have an assistant with the lights, hair and makeup would be done by professionals and usually there would be an AD or some other creative checking that we will get the necessary images. So the biggest difference is usually the amount of people there are in the shoot, wanting to get involved. This time it was three of us, having a blast.


AA: What was the actual photo shoot like?

AK: I think that the photoshoot was pretty much a perfect day out with good friends. We had so much fun going around the house. Lots of laughs and jawdropping scenery!


AA: In setting up a shot, what are the key elements that you are looking for?

AK: With my images the light and the composition is the key, I need to previsualize the images in my head and try to create that atmosphere in to images, find a suiting location, pose the model the way I want etc. I know the things that I will be able to correct or add in post production, so I don’t mind all the smallest details if the feeling is right. I just need good light, environment and a perfect composition of the elements.


AA: What challenges came up during the project? Any interesting behind the scenes stories to share?

AK: Only challenge I had was the thing that there was just too much “visual candy” everywhere, so I got sometimes a bit distracted by the environment 😀


AA: Maunsel House is amazing. What can you share about it and having the run of the place for the whole day?

AK: The house was just amazing. I’ve seen quite a bit, but nothing like that. Having an opportunity to have that kind of place for us for a whole day was just something. All the thanks goes to the wonderful staff of Maunsel House for letting us to make these images there. I’m sure I will go back there some day!


AA: What are some reactions to Steampunk Friends for Life which you’ve heard about from the steampunk community and outside of it?

AK: I think the Steampunk community liked the images, liked the style and the details in them. But I think the story is the reason I made this case. I hope it will make people get up from their asses and contact new people. Networking is the key with my profession and I just love meeting new people and you never know what opportunities it will bring.


AA: What kind of attention has this generated? Any new opportunities because of it?

AK: I already knew that if I will be able to pull out the images I’ve previsualized in my head, we should get a bit of attention. I knew that the story is genuine and inspiring and the images would be memorable. People responded to the images and also the story really well. There is definitely lots of ripple effects coming out of this project.


AA: Can people look forward to another steampunk photo shoot from you? Soon?

AK: I’m sure I will do more steampunk! This week I will be at the Cardiff Film & Comic con festival, so maybe I catch couple of Steampunk people there!


AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?

AK: I love creative people, I love talking with them. I love the style of certain photographers and digital artists but mostly I will try to get my inspiration from everything that is going on around me.


AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?

AK: I think there have been many positive changes in my life, but one big challenge I had to overcome was to stop being afraid of being successful. It takes lots of courage to say out loud that you are good at something. Losing the shame and just sharing everything you know with other people helps you to be also successful. I think if you don’t value your own work how could others do the same?


AA: Three quick fire, random questions what is your favorite mustard, gem stone, and type of celebration?

AK: Turun sinappi red (Finnish mustard), Sapphire, Christmas 😀


AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers

AK: Well .. I will leave you with my hashtag motto #sharingiscaring


Thanks, Antti, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to

hearing about your next projects!

Keep up to date with Antti Karppinen’s latest news on his website.


Published in: on December 23, 2014 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Interview with Photographer Antti Karppinen

This week we are talking with Antti Karppinen, an internationally awarded commercial photographer, digital artist, and retoucher from Finland.


Airship Ambassador: Hi Antti, thanks for joining us!.

Antti Karppinen: Hi there, thank you for having me here!


AA: I’ve only recently become familiar with your work when I read your post, Steampunk Friends for Life, about a steampunk photo shoot you did at Maunsel House. Was this your first experience with steampunk?

AK: As a photoshoot my first, but definitely not my last take on Steampunk. I’ve always liked the look and feel of Steampunk images, costumes and the whole theme.


AA: What is the attraction of the steampunk aesthetic for you?

AK: I think I mostly like the details and the style. All the outfits, props and small details look amazing. And the overall feel like being in a movie is the most attractive.


AA: What was the motivation for creating this particular shoot with Paul and Danielle (Hyper Hamlet and Tink Hamlet)?

AK: I just found this couple online, saw their Steampunk themed wedding photos, and I was sold. I knew I can bring something different in to the table with my way of telling stories with images.


AA: How did the whole project come about?

AK: I knew that I will be moving to Cardiff so I just browsed the web and stumbled on this one website with coolest wedding images. I saw this couple with really detailed Steampunk costumes and I just decided to contact them to see if they would be willing to model for me. Things started from one Facebook message and just expanded later on in all different directions.


AA: What kind of research and prep work went into creating the shoot?

AK: Well I like always to plan the shot carefully and try to previsualize things. I got a lot of inspiration from other Steampunk themed images and started to make my own board in Pinterest.


AA: What was the photo shoot design process like and how long did it take? Aside from ‘steampunk’,

was there a central theme?

AK: Since I love movies and movie posters I tried to get some kind of movie theme into images. The exact locations and poses couldn’t be planned beforehand, since I hadn’t been into that mansion before. I decided to take pretty light gear with me and just keep the vision of a movie set in mind, trying to achieve the look I wanted.


AA: What benefits and limitations did using steampunk as the aesthetic present in creating the images?

AK: I think the benefits are in the abundance of small details and the outfits. Authentic looking elements will bring so much to the table.


AA: Aside from the fantastic decor and items in Maunsel House, what steampunk elements were specifically included, either for setting or for ‘feel’?

AK: We had few props with us, the most of them were done by Hyper Hamlet himself. One of the prop guns was the “Righteous Bison” crafted by Weta, most often seen in Team Fortress 2 game.


AA: When people see the images, aside from the artistic components and merits, what would you like for them to take away from them?

AK: Even though my images are based on photography I try to create a bit of painting like retouching for them. I love telling stories so I would love people to look at the images and imagine the story behind them.


AA: Authors and artists often talk about how elements of their own lives make their way into their work. How did this play into this shoot?

AK: I think with this shoot it is mostly about my interest in movies and movie posters. I have this dream that one day I will be creating movie poster images for these big entertainment companies. You never know what will happen in the future.


AA: Where did the various outfit pieces and props come from?

AK: Some outfits were bought around the world but most of the detailed props were designed and hand crafted by the couple themselves, mostly by Hyper.


AA: What were some memorable, or infamous moments, during the whole project from inception to the final shot?

AK: I think seeing the mansion for the first time was just awesome. And of course seeing the couple getting their outfits on and transforming into these steampunk characters.


AA: How did this project compare to other projects? What are some key differences?

AK: When I’m doing my own projects, not commercial work .. I’m at my best. You have total freedom of doing the images YOU want and you can put all your own vision into play.


We will break here in our chat with Antti Karppinen.

Join us for the conclusion where he talks about the photo shoot itself, Maunsel house, and general reactions.

Published in: on December 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Interview with Photographer Evan Butterfield, Part 5

Welcome back for the conclusion of our chat with Evan Butterfield, creator of Gentlemen of Steampunk.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

Read Part Three here.

Read Part Four here.

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AA: We were talking about the other interests which fill your time. Any favorite steampunk authors?

EB: You know, I’ve tried reading specifically “Steampunk Literature” and it just doesn’t catch hold for me. And no, I won’t give you examples of authors whose work failed to grab my attention! Part of it may be that in any “genre fiction” there’s a wide range of authorship skills, and with digital technology making it easier for anyone—like me!—to self-publish, the quality factor becomes, um, a little dicier. But I think a bigger part for me is that because I have such a specific Steampunk world in mind, anything that doesn’t fit that image just doesn’t make sense.


AA: How do those interests influence your work?

EB: Well, I’d point to China Mieville as a major influence—his New Corbuzon is a weird, cruel, steampunky world—and the reading I do on 18th and 19th century England is very informative of my work. Anyone who gave it more thought than I’m prepared to do might trace influences from the fairly violent video games I play to the undercurrent of cruelty that’s hinted at in my photos—and some of those can get pretty dark, with masks and rusted cutlery and dark alleys. And of course Gimli-the-cat makes an appearance in Aether & Rhyme as the Cheshire Cat!

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AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?

EB: Oh sure. In my standard bio I refer to my grandfather, Elvin Butterfield, who was a small-town professional photographer (he specialized in gauzy, hand-tinted portraits of Gladiolus Festival Queens and beaming local brides). He had a shingle hung in front of his house announcing “E.Butterfield Photography,” so I come by the name honestly.

I used to spend hours as a small child inhaling the yummy-smelling chemicals in his darkroom, which may account for a lot. My great-uncle Hugh Butterfield was a photo analyst in WWII, and my father, John, refuses to retire in his retirement, and he’s a photographer for a suburban Chicago newspaper. My husband, Durrell Dew, is a huge influence and motivator. He bought me my first serious camera a decade ago, so it’s really all his fault. And he’s very supportive even when I mess up the dining table with super-glue or make him go hide in the back bedroom while I do a shoot.

Influences I’m not related to? It may sound weird but there’s a Canadian filmmaker named Guy Maddin, whose movies are modern in content but filmed and processed to look like old silent movies or antiquated filmstock: they’re over-lit and grainy and scratched. I think watching his films may have inspired me to take a similar path in my Steampunk photography. And I’m going to mention China Mieville again, along with Charles Dickens, of course.

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AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?

EB: Oh my, that’s a huge question! Well, at the risk of being all treacly, I’d have to say meeting my husband, Durrell, thirteen years ago (we got married in 2013, once the Supreme Court said we could). He got me started in photography, and he’s my best, most remarkable friend. I wish I could point to big challenges I’ve overcome, but I’m afraid I’ve had a pretty smooth ride of it so far. My childhood was not fraught with conflict and turmoil, my professional career has been pretty fulfilling.

I suppose coming to terms with who I am as a human being in midlife was a challenge—and I’m sure it created challenges for others—but even that was not too stressful either. I guess at the moment my greatest challenge is making sure I don’t spend so much time in my Steampunk world—creating photographs and building props and stuff—that I neglect everyone and everything else. It’d be easy to get lost in here, I think.

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AA: Three quick fire, random questions – what is your favorite film, music composer, and fabric texture?

EB: Oh you’re not really expecting quick simple answers from me at this point are you? I think we both know that’s not going to happen. Favorite film is tough; I taught film at the University of Illinois a very long time ago, but I have kept a firm grip on being an insufferable movie geek. I think I’d point to Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander as being probably the most perfect movie I know of—it’s beautiful, and magical, and scary, and sad and really quite wonderful. And weird sci fi like City of Lost Children and Dark City; the Alien movies, Toho Godzillas. I’m a Bach guy in terms of classical music, but my playlist is heavy on pop, dance music, and Lady Gaga, so I’m pretty eclectic. And fabric texture? That’s a weird one! Soft, I guess. Unlike the Victorians, I’m all about comfort, so lightweight, soft, natural fabrics are my friends. I make other people wear the heavy, scratchy, brocade-y stuff.


AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers

EB: I do want to say something about digital versus printed books generally. My day job is complicated (I handle publishing, conferences, and education for a technology nonprofit), but I’m in part a publisher, and so I’m very aware of the mess that digital content delivery has created for print publications, and the big divide that rages between print purists and folks who are happy to read books and magazines on their phones. (We just moved all of our magazines—there are, like, thirteen of them—to digital-only, and I’ve gotten my share of “attaboy’s” and “I’ll-hate-you-forever’s” in my email.) The writing’s been on the wall about that for a long time, and there’s really no arguing how it’s going to end up.

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As an author, though, especially as a photographer, I have to say that I really, really prefer to see my books on tablets and phones versus in print. My experience with printed editions of my books (which, of course, everyone should run to Amazon to buy because they’re more expensive and I get a better royalty) is that the quality is very uneven, and the photos never look the way I really want them to. They’re digitally processed by me, though, and when I see them on a Kindle, for instance, I’m very impressed with the depth of color and the crispness and the, well, purity of the image. So even though it’ll send me to the workhouse, I really encourage people to buy the digital versions of my books. Sometimes the layout gets a little hinky, depending on the device, but the words are all there and—more importantly to me—the images are pretty much just the way I want them. If someone wants a printed photograph, I can fulfill that through my site, and I’m very happy with my photo printers; but for books, digital is the way to go, at least in my opinion.

And one final plug: People should go “like” me on Facebook, and visit my website a lot (I check my analytics pretty obsessively, and it gives me such delight when people show up). They should also sign up for my blog, “LensCaps,” —I’m not a terribly reliable blogger, but I do try. And email me if you have ideas or want to do some work together or have questions. I also accept lavish praise, of course.


Thanks, Evan, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!

Keep up to date with Evan Butterfield’s latest news on his website.

You can support Evan and our community by getting Gentlemen of Steampunk here and Aether & Rhyme here.


Published in: on December 18, 2014 at 8:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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