Rising Light is an article series highlighting promising photography students from all over the world. This month we introduce Sylvana Burns, at the ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Sylvana Burns has spent the last 3 years learning everything she can about the art of photography as a student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Her interest in photography began while taking snapshots on a family vacation in Africa, and the mystique of picture taking has only grown since then.
Sylvana applied to several schools but fell in love with the Art Center College of Design after taking a tour of the facilities and its surroundings. By day’s end, she had canceled all of her upcoming appointments with other schools and she hasn’t looked back since.
Sylvana’s work is quite complex, especially considering she had little practical experience behind a camera before enrolling at the ACCD. Her interest in music and dance shines through in her photographs. She readily admits to being influenced by the painters such as Degas, with more than a nod to the influences of Salvador Dali and other painters of the surrealist movement.
As for her photographic influences, Sylvana looks to the work of heavy-hitters such as Richard Avedon, Eugenio Recuenco, Tim Walker, David Hamilton and Paolo Roversi.
If you note a cinematic presence about Sylvana’s work, this too is no accident. Her imagery is carefully planned and each photograph tells a multi-layered story, with light playing an important role. “I take everything in – I don’t discount anything that comes to mind. Many of my images come from music, which has always been part of my life – movies too!”
“When I first started out I had little idea how important exposure or lighting was – I was like ‘Billy Elliot’ – I no idea what I was walking into – all I knew was I wanted in. Lighting is so important. It really dictates what I want to communicate and how I tell the story. I have visual images in my mind and I take it from there.”
The accompanying photographs were captured using a Canon 5D MK III and a trio of lenses that include a Canon EF 100 macro, an EF 24mm-70mm, and an EF 16mm-35mm zoom lens.
Her primary lighting kit is a Profoto B2 250 AirTTL Location Kit and while she claims to have no specific favorite Light Shaping Tools, she makes good use of the Profoto OCF Barndoor, OCF Grid Kit, OCF Beauty Dish and OCF Softboxes. In a nutshell, she chooses her Light Shaping Tools based on how they best can bring her ideas to life.
As for the future, Sylvana plans on moving to London in January, a city that has long captured her imagination. While there, she intends to work on a Masters in Photography, learn more about art direction and shoot freelance.All while absorbing the history and culture of her surroundings.
When asked about her ultimate goals Sylvana doesn’t hesitate for a moment. “I want to art direct magazines and curate art shows”. Like she says – she’s open to all things creative.
Photographer: Sylvana Burns
School: ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California
Visit her website: www.sylvanaburns.com