A couple of months ago, I had put up my photography services for auction at the Typhoon Haiyan Fundraising Event. Well I wasn’t able to make it to the event itself since I’m usually not around on Sundays, so I was very shocked to hear that it was none other than the talented Mr. Skip Staheli that bid on me and won my auction. Needless to say, when I heard that I pretty much freaked out. He’s been my photography idol for as long as I can remember. His work is breathtaking and beautiful and I was absolutely honored to take his picture.
I figured since I was going to have him behind my camera lens, it would be the perfect opportunity to ask him a lot of personal questions so I can also have him on my blog for my “Men on the grid” series. So when we were comparing dates and timings to meet up for the shoot, I asked and he said yes.
That didn’t really make my nerves get any better though because now I had to come up with questions on top of struggling to do a somewhat decent picture for him. Yeah, I know, I’m just brilliant! Anyhow, as nerve-wracking and scary as this whole event has been for me, it’s also been an honor to be able to spend some time with him.
Here is a snippet of our conversation:
Second Life: Teleport offer sent
Skip Staheli: heyyyyyyy there 🙂
Strawberry Singh: hi there, so nice to meet you inworld
Skip Staheli: really nice meeting you 🙂
Strawberry Singh: I’m gonna admit that I’m so totally nervous lol
Skip Staheli: im really excited to have you do my photo!
Skip Staheli: nooo silly, dont be nervous… why???
Strawberry Singh: awwww, well I’m excited to have you on my blog!
Strawberry Singh: cuz you are so talented, always admired your work
Skip Staheli: lmao.. your very talented yourself! I admire your work
Strawberry Singh: I just consider myself a goofy blogger, not really a professional photog lol so that’s why I’m nervous.
Strawberry Singh: Anyhow, let’s start the shoot and while we are shooting, I’m going to start all my questions…
Strawberry Singh: How did you find out about Second Life? And what got you into it?
Skip Staheli: I found Second life through an article I read in a paper/magazine.. and it got me curious. It was 2007, and in that time RL companies were still interested in it… so I wanted to go see for myself.
Strawberry Singh: Where are you from in RL?
Skip Staheli: I’m Dutch 🙂
Strawberry Singh: You take very whimsical and beautiful images in SL, what inspires you to make them?
Skip Staheli: I find inspiration in life.. in so many things.. but most of all I get inspired by the client…. the one in front of my lens.. I like to talk with them.. to get a feel with them.. and that way an “image” comes in my head… other than that.. inspiration can come from music I listen to, movies, flickr, pinterest, experiences in RL.. you name it.
Strawberry Singh: You are known for your photoshopping skills and really being able to bring an avatar to life in just one frame. Do you have a graphic design background? How did you acquire this talent?
Skip Staheli: No.. I’m all autodidact..so no classes or graphic design background at all. In fact.. I dont see myself as a pro in photoshop at all.. I just use such a small palette of what PS has to offer…I just mess around.. I’m not able to tell in the end what I did.. cuz its almost like a rl painting.. I keep drawing, adding.. till I’m satisfied.. takes me easily 5 to 8 hours per image. I like to dive in it.. and loose myself.. its like therapy for the mind.
Strawberry Singh: Oh yes, I understand that because that’s how I feel about blogging. I can tell, you put a lot of work and thought into each image. So how did you get into SL Photography then? If that wasn’t your background to begin with.
Skip Staheli: I was never like.. “I want to be a SL photographer” it just started with making snaps of me and my friends.. and started to pimp them up a lil .. first in photofiltre.. I didnt know about photoshop and before I knew I had clients.. lol. I never blogged… pretty much from the very start of my SL photography it took much of my time.. so blogging wasn’t something I got into.. I think it must take much of time?
Strawberry Singh: Yeah, it can. So how long have you been working with photoshop then?
Skip Staheli: I started with Photoshop somewhere end beginning 2009 I think.. not sure anymore and first I really didn’t understand all.. didn’t use layers.. so I did it all on just one layer.. with my finger on a little mouse pad… drawing for hours like that…so.. when I learned about layers.. life became much easier for me..
Strawberry Singh: oh yes, layers are so important haha
Skip Staheli: and I think 2011 or so, I got me a drawing tablet.. sooo loving it
Strawberry Singh: So what else do you do in SL? Other than your photography.
Skip Staheli: not so much… well I try to keep up a little with friends.. try to go dance or explore a little.. but most of my time really goes into the photos and sometimes in my late night.. when I’m not SL working.. I like a little romance and erotics too.. but not that often.
Strawberry Singh: well you have to leave some time for fun as well
Skip Staheli: uhuh
Strawberry Singh: Speaking of fun lol, now I’m going to ask something I’m sure all the ladies want to know….Are you single?
Skip Staheli: I’m in an open relationship… and we both see others… I live a polygamous lifestyle.. in both lives..that suits me.
Strawberry Singh: I noticed a lot of people in SL have open relationships. Is it difficult to do that? Or do you find that easier to handle in SL? I’ve never really been in one.
Skip Staheli: As long as I’ve been in SL, I never partnered… I prefer to stay single, but I always have friendships.. some with.. something more.. I just like my freedom.. also with the sl work.. I am just now and then available.. a relationship would be a pain for my partner.. I’d never be there.. plus me wanting to see others too… Its just not something I can do.. more honest for everyone. I hate cheating and lies.
Strawberry Singh: I can understand that, it works better for you this way and it’s good you are upfront and honest about it. I have you on my facebook and I’ve noticed you’re very friendly and humble whilst dealing with everyone. I really like that about you. I haven’t ever seen you get confrontational before. Are you more of a laid back kind of guy? How would you describe your personality?
Skip Staheli: hmm… I think im pretty easy going.. but on the other hand I can be very complicated too. So I don’t know how I can describe myself. I do think, and believe.. that what you give others you will receive back.. so I try to be always friendly.
Strawberry Singh: I absolutely believe that too. I try and give everyone a certain level of respect and consideration.
Skip Staheli: right 🙂 I think that too. I try to treat every person I meet for the first time the same.. also with shoots… everyone deserves the best. I don’t like arrogance… but self-confidence is good.. though some people do confuse that.. and think when you’re self assure, you’re arrogant.. but that’s not the case.
Strawberry Singh: That’s one thing I noticed about you, you have so much talent, probably one of the most wanted photographers on the grid but you are extremely humble and not arrogant at all.
Skip Staheli: aww.. thank you.. I hope so…. sometimes I hear different though.. but that’s mostly when they have not met me yet.. and people assume pretty often, sadly
Strawberry Singh: I’ve never heard a bad word about you. So tell me, what is your favorite thing about Second Life?
Skip Staheli: without a doubt..thats my photography.. without it.. I would have left long time ago. But in general.. I love the creativity in SL.. the sky is the limit.
Strawberry Singh: and what is something that you dislike about Second Life or SLers.
Skip Staheli: That’s pretty much the same.. as in RL. People who can’t respect other’s choices, the jealous people, or the sick in mind people.. .they are sadly around.. but that’s the same in RL. I try to avoid this negative energy.. and SL can be addictive.. I’m sometimes not happy with the RL hours I put in it.. when I played SL in the beginning, I really was addicted big time.. I played till late in the night.. and slept not enough.. but kicked my own ass.. and changed that. Last few years I’m not that often inworld anymore.
Strawberry Singh: oh yeah, I went through the same addiction few years back, was up all night then work the next day. Not healthy at all. SL can be like any drug really lol
Skip Staheli: haha yes! so you were there too 🙂 I see some people really leaving their RL.. and SL is their first life in fact.. I think that is sad.
Strawberry Singh: Absolutely, got to hold on to RL. Well I am done taking all my pictures 🙂 and I think that’s all the questions I had, unless there’s anything else you want to share?
Skip Staheli: no.. I think I maybe shared too much already 😛
Well I certainly don’t think he shared too much, lol! It was a pleasure getting to know the man behind the lens. I always find it interesting how people view Second Life and how it enhances their own life.
Thank you Mr. Staheli for spending a little time with me, taking the time to answer all these questions and changing the shoot to a whole blog post for me. I hope you like the pictures. It was a pleasure to meet you. <3
What Mr. Skip Staheli is wearing:
Hair: EMO-tions Skip-a-Beat
Shirt: Hoorenbeek Pea Coat-Beige
Pants: Hoorenbeek Mesh original jeans- Indie blue
Shoes: Hoorenbeek Mesh Army boots- Gritty Sand
Ring: Right-hand – Gabriel
Ring: Left-hand – Rozoregalia Archelon
Poses: Diesel Works