If you go down to the woods today… you can only dream of stumbling upon something as breathtaking as Ysabel LeMay’s folkloric photo montages. Her sublime rococo visions of nature each sing their own love song to flora and fauna, and each appear to have been assembled in the heart of a thick woodland glen, at dusk, on Midsummer’s Eve, by a whispering team of fairies, pixies, witches and warlocks.
Quebec-born LeMay began her career commercially, as a graphic artist in advertising. But after opening her own Vancouver firm she began yearning for a more creatively and emotionally fulfilling lifestyle, so set off to study painting at the Emily Carr University of Art, eventually turning her attention to photography and inventing a technique for creating photographic hypercollages she terms ‘photofusion’.
Blending technical skill with an eye for beauty and training as a painter, LeMay, now based in Austin, Texas, assembles her pastel wonderlands using a lengthy, innovative process. First she takes hundreds of photographs of birds, berries, petals, grass, twigs, horses, butterflies, branches, ponds and grassy glades. Then she plucks out individual components, digitally adjusts the lighting, contrast and exposure, and reorders the newly filtered pieces, creating magical collages that appear to be hyper-realistic paintings of floral bouquets bursting with hummingbirds, berries and blooms; underwater worlds of herons, rose bushes and fire; gravity-defying waterfalls of lilies and swallows.
Referring to her works, LeMay uses the acronym WOW: Wonderful Other Worlds. We defy you to do anything but jump right in.