Australian photographer Hayley Roberts’ photographs are magical stories brought to life. To see more of her portfolio, please visit her website.
When I was young I was enchanted with the fairytales my parents read to me before bed, believing the world was full of magic and mystery. Through photography, I am able to bring to life the kinds of magical stories I adored as a child.
These are the stories that bend and break the rules of reality, where magic is a part of the fabric of the universe.
I am a self-taught photographer who spent four years learning my craft by photographing landscapes and animals. Now I use trick photography and Photoshop to composite pieces of these images into larger scenes, while using costumes, props and posing to convey my stories. For the sake of cost and convenience I mainly shoot self-portraits.
I work very simply and cost effectively, photographing myself against sheets and plain walls using natural lighting or a couple of flashes, but making sure the light will match my background scene. I then use Photoshop to remove myself from these backgrounds and composite my character into their intended scenes. I buy costumes and props from op shops and wigs from eBay to give variety to the look of my characters.
In contrast with my interest in magic, I am equally fascinated by “looking behind the curtain” and studying the creative techniques that photographers use to defy reality.
Tricks like levitation, miniatures, special effects and double exposures – I am obsessed with learning and replicating these techniques in my work.
This is why I was inspired to start the “Exposing Illusions” project on my website where I study and use various techniques and then write tutorials to teach others the process. I guess I’m the kind of magician who reveals their tricks. But for me, the true art is the process of creation and not the end result.
I’m sure it will be no surprise considering my interest in stories to learn that I work in a library. Every day I am surrounded by thousands of stories that help people escape from reality for a time.
I hope that my images also provide a temporary retreat from the boredom of life’s routines, helping people recapture their childhood wonder.
My goal is to combine my passions for travel and conceptual photography by travelling around Australia and creating portraits in iconic and picturesque locations that showcase the beauty and stories of the country where I live.