Creative portrait photographer Rosie Hardy was placing herself in otherworldly scenes far before AI art existed. For over a decade, Rosie has been creating whimsical, fantasy portraits – and for her, it isn't just about the outcome; it's about the process.
"Pretty much every piece of work that I create is some kind of emotional catharsis for me," she says. Her "visual diary" began in her teenage years when she developed alopecia and lost her hair. She found comfort in creating self-portraits, uploading them to Flickr and becoming the platform's third most followed account, behind NASA and the White House.
Now, she shoots professionally – both commercially for brands and privately for weddings – but maintains her personal work and presence with more than 180K followers on her social channels, and almost 6K subscribers on YouTube, as creatives are keen to find out the process behind her sometimes surreal and often sublime images.
Although she's a professional with years of experience, Rosie still describes her kitbag as "a simple one" – and she hasn't forgotten where it all began. "I started with an APS-C camera and an embarrassing fact is that I didn't know, for about a year, that lenses came off," she says. "I thought if you wanted a new lens, you had to buy a whole new camera!"
There's a serious lesson in the anecdote. Rosie strongly believes that you don't need a lot of money to create and have fun. "Not everyone starts out with a huge budget; not everyone can afford to build a set out of all kinds of interesting things," she says. "I think being self-sufficient – whether it be just shooting yourself and not models, or getting your friends together to do the job of a make-up artist – is a great way to start."
Following her creative editing tutorials for the Canon Europe Learning Series, we asked Rosie about her go-to kit.