Photographers Io Bechir and Fanny Vermont recently opened their own studio and gallery space in Second Life. Called Clockwork Skimmer, the space has a distinctively steampunk feel to it, and offers a cosy space for both Io and Fanny to display their work.
The lower floor of the space, where visitors arrive, presents the looks and feel of a basement space, with bare brick walls and small windows placed high in the walls, close to the wood ceiling. A rough wooden floor, a bare iron supporting frame for the floor above, and exposed copper pipes complete the basic room décor. Into this Io has added various furnishings – free-standing spotlights, a wine rack, easy chairs and a large leather sofa, before which lays a great big bear rug. “I am a big Steam fan,” Io informed me as we chatted about the design, “I think it’s a nice motif for a gallery space.”
I couldn’t agree more, as the entire effect creates a beautifully intimate space ideal for presenting her work, which has a wonderful ability to project so much to the observer: strength, fragility, vulnerability, beauty, vitality, and more. In all nine of Io’s pieces are displayed here, the casual manner in which they are placed on or against walls or sit on easels very much promoting the feeling one has been invited into her personal work space, rather than attending a formal exhibit.
The upper floor, reached via an open staircase, is home to a more formal exhibition space, which might be imagined as being on the ground floor of the building. It is here that Fanny has her exhibition, entitled Balance. In it, she presents nine nude images in three sets of three, all in black and white. Each image is exquisitely posed and presented, and as with Io’s pieces, they each individually, and in their collective trios, present a narrative.
“Balance is my second series based on a concept. As the name implies I developed and photographed some of my ideas referring to the theme but still with enough room for personal interpretations,” Fanny notes of the exhibit, “taken in my studio which is not much more than an ample, empty hall. I wanted to be able to use a tele lens and also to get more possibilities where to place the light projector. For six images I used a large, white backdrop with a rather wide dimensioned cove which creates nice results in combination with the spotlight.”
As well as describing he means of creating her images, Fanny also divulges her approach to framing and presenting them in-world in order to preserve their 16:10 aspect ratio. While this may sound a dry description, in actual fact, it is quite the reverse. While the image sets themselves are enthralling as seen, being invited into the complete creative process which brought them from idea to finished displayed piece, draws one deeper into them; so we become less observers and more partners sharing in Fanny’s work.
I’ve been a fervent admirer of Io’s work since first encountering it, and I’ve become an instant admirer of Fanny’s work as well, as a result of this first expose to it. As such, I’m very much looking forward to future exhibitions at Clockwork Skimmer.