by Sita Writer
It has been amazing to watch the art of photography evolve in Second Life®. Today many images are beautiful examples of 3-D virtual world art not only in their expression but also in feelings that their imaginative images evoke. One of SL’s most whimsical and evocative SL photographers is Falbala Fairey.
Falbala Fairey’s SL life changed for good when she met her SL dad, the famous SL photographer, Skip Staheli. “Skip inspired me in such a grounded way, there was something in my pictures that he liked. This pushed me a lot to try harder to excel in my SL artistry. He taught me not to give up. I am so thankful he is in my life.”
Like some of us with a truly creative spirit Fairey believes that her artistry evolved along with SL itself. The inspiration for Fairey’s images comes from music. “Music controls how I feel and what emotion I want to give the picture. I always say to myself, ‘Falbala, everyone can take pictures. Techniques can be learned. But to give your picture emotions, let the person feel something when they look at your picture, that is called creativity and that is something you have in your blood… you are born with it.’ I love this line, because it opened my eyes to the joy of taking a creative picture rather than stressing about the number of clicks or likes. The joy of making a creative image and to love the final outcome is my focus and the good advice that I got from my lovely SL father Skip Staheli. I think I am the hardest critic with myself more then anyone else.”
Many think Fairey is only into fantasy because of her elf ears. “I really like fantasy but I also love Avant Garde stylings and, sometimes, even creepy dark stylings! As an elf model you are immediately put in the fantasy stereotype box but I know I am more versatile.”
Fairey advises never to give up and never stop trying new experiences. “Some days you will hate your pictures and feel frustrated. If you feel like that then take a break, relax and then revisit it. As I was told, feel your pictures. Don’t try to be like someone else. You aren’t someone else. You are you and how you are is good. Feel your art and when you do and if it feels right, then nobody can take this feeling away from it or from you. Be proud of your artwork and try to evolve with experience as your skills grow.”
Helping people all over the world inspires her and helping people in need inspires her even more. “In SL I like to raise awareness for the smaller problems in our lives, those that are in our backyard. The media overloads us with many catastrophes that blind us from the small things happening right in front of us. I like to help sad cases that are right in my own back yard. And, in SL, I try to help people reach a big goal, people listen to me and I try to use my skills for something good.
In RL, Fairey has overcome many dark times thanks to proper medication and SL. “I am not perfect in RL. I am not a Falbala in RL. But I try my best to become as brave and self confident as she is in regard to my skills and personality. In RL, I deal with some heavy mental disorders that have ruled my life for years; till the point where I wanted to commit suicide. My life went totally out of control. Today, I cope with depression, multiple PTSD, borderline behavior disorder, social anxiety and an eating disorder. I am proud to say, if I didn’t have SL, with the support of all the people here, I wouldn’t be here on this planet. In my darkest hour of life, I still knew there is a place, even if it is ‘just’ a virtual world, where I reached something like a career, where I fought against my anxieties and my fears and where I had a place where I wasn’t alone with myself. Because of years of therapies and fighting in my RL I chose life instead of death and SL helped me to be the strong women I am now. I still deal with problems but I feel strong enough to fight them every day with success! It is not a burden for me anymore like it was. And I deeply believe that others can reach this goal as I did.”
Written by Sita Writer. Photographs by, and used with permission from, Falbala Fairey.