I spoke with talented young Canberran photographer Jenny Coyne (aka Allyeska) about her work behind the lens and on the stage performing the risque art of Burlesque...
"I'm very much a people person, so I guess my approach to life and photography is ensuring everyone enjoys the process. Life and photography isn't just about the end product... its about enjoying the process - the here and now."
Tell us how your interest (and participation) in Burlesque performance began. I had no interest or knowledge of Burlesque when I received an email through the ANU Psychology Society advertising burlesque lessons. I love dancing and have done many different styles so I talked a friend into going and signed up. Quickly fell in love with it and became hooked! Performing was the scariest thing I've done, and now its one of the things I most enjoy. Its given me a confidence in life that is wonderful - how can you be unhappy when you feel so confident?
What did your mum think!? hahaha. Well they didn't find out until they saw me on Stateline on ABC in a segment they did on Miss Kitka's House of Burlesque. Mum rang me "you didn't tell me you were going to be on TV" and I was thinking "yeah - for a very good reason!". Not so sure what Dad thinks of the whole thing but Mum came and watched one of the shows and loved it! She's my biggest supporter!
And your photography is awesome... what is your favourite subject to shoot? So difficult to narrow it down! I have a thing for sunsets, as my photography friends well know. But I think I like doing pinup (think 50s 60's style pinups) the best. The technical aspect of managing the lighting, as well as the creative side of theme, wardrobe, poses etc makes it challenging and very rewarding. And who doesn't love a good pinup?!
What influences or inspires your work? In terms of pinup photography, my knowledge of burlesque and performing really helps.
"I love the burlesque idea that its what you DON'T show that is most important. A little mystery goes a long way, and it is something that is often missing in today's representation of women and their sexuality."
I enjoy finding cute ways to do implied nude pinups that are tasteful, fun, cheeky with a touch of sexy. Gil Evgren (illustrator) is my favourite pinup artist so I am heavily inspired by his work, and the work of similar artists.
Did you study Photography? I studied black and white film photography 2 hours a fortnight in year 11 just for fun. I guess that kick started my passion for photography. I didn't take many photos though until I got a digital SLR just over a year ago. Then my passion became and obsession!
Do you have any other creative pursuits? I used to love to draw and sketch, and I love making beaded jewellery. Aside photography, I'd have to say dancing is my biggest passion. I also design and make pasties (for performing burlesque... or if you're into that kind of thing, at home ;-)
Check out Allyeska's amazing photographic portfolio here, which also includes some way-too-cool landscapes and abstract patterns... and if you are after a portrait session with a difference, you know who to call.