The photographer’s conceptual series look like surreal paintings

To escape the mundane realities of life, conceptual photographer Kylli Sparre has created alternate worlds full of action, surrealism and serenity.

Sparre’s work contains elements of surrealism and impressionism, blending them together with photography in a unique way.

The reflective process of conceptual work

Sparre, based in Tallinn, Estonia, started her career in nature photography and then gradually moved into conceptual work. Her photos have been shown and published all over the world, and Sparre’s unique perspective has been praised by several awards.

“As I became more familiar with conceptual photography, I realized that it was more flexible to me than any other way of expression, and it felt very personal to me, so it really attracted me,” says Spary. betapixel;

“Through conceptual photography, I can express less anxiety and less fear of being wrong,” she continues. “It gives me this weird balance between being in control and letting go of control at the same time.”

Although the work is intended for an audience, it can feel like a very personal process as well. In a way, Sparre creates a place where she can feel and experience life differently from reality – “where not everything is practical and logical.”

She also draws elements from her background in dance, where movement plays an important role. Above all, Sparre’s work conveys peace.

It all starts with the drawing board

Sparre’s creative ideas rarely, if any, come from everyday life, which she believes “can sometimes feel incredibly materialistic.” Instead, she looks for ideas that sound like a “mini escape.” The process is just as unconventional and artistic as her photographs which often look more like dreamy paintings than photographs.

“If the image was really good, it would have that effect,” she explains, “I can’t force it though; it has to work somehow.”

On the practical side, she often develops her ideas by drawing and extracting them to help understand the concept and how it might be achieved. At the same time, it leaves plenty of room for trial and error.

“The biggest challenge for me is getting myself through the points where I tend to stumble,” says Spary. “I tend to give up sometimes when the picture doesn’t seem to come alive at all. Sometimes when I get past this point I might be surprised and really happy that I didn’t give up.”

“But other times, I wish I had just left her,” she continues. “So when I get stuck, I can’t be sure if I’m stuck because it’s really bad or I’m just stuck.”

Sparre is hard to navigate at this point in the creative process, but once you get over it, the results are well worth it.

“Through my photography, I felt that I could reach other people – even if I didn’t know them – and establish a real connection,” says Spary. “Of course, not everyone responds to my work, but there are people who do. I am grateful for these contacts.”

More of Sparre’s work can be found on her website and Instagram.

Image credits: Kelly Spary Pictures.

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