TC Chandamany’s conceptual photography challenges us to look at familiar desert landscapes with new eyes. The Las Vegas based photographer and founder of Earth Xploration is fascinated with science and space, and he brings this fascination to the viewer in the most imaginable ways possible.
We sat down to chat with TC to see how he comes up with concepts, his editing workflow, and ultimately how he makes the Nevada desert look so otherworldly.
Who are you and what do you do? How did you get into this industry?
My name is TC Chandamany, currently residing in Las Vegas, NV. By trade, I am a computer systems engineer, with a primary focus on virtualization technologies. I’ve always had a thing for tech growing up. More importantly, I had a fascination for tech and art in a cross pollinated fashion. I got into the digital arts/entertainment industry about 12 years ago.
Your work is so unique; how do you come up with ideas and concepts?
I’ve always been into the whole “outer space/there’s more life out there” concept. Religion and beliefs aside, I’ve always felt that as my life mantra. The concept “Earth Xploration” came to light when I realized I saw things differently. My vantage point was at a different frequency and what I saw and heard was not like everyone else.
Earth Xploration reverses the exploration of existence from outer space to Earth, rather than Earthlings exploring outer space. By following suit with this viewpoint, an entirely new perspective is born.
You then see, hear and feel things differently with each new Earthly discovery. As an inhabitant of Earth, for the most part — you know what to expect. As a visitor, that “new” feeling is something you can’t plan, it’s something you can’t buy and it’s certainly something no one can ever take away from you.
Did you have a mentor or teacher? Who (what) inspires you?
Everything I know is self-taught, through Google and YouTube University. The world truly inspires me. If I were to name an individual, there would be too many because everyone inspires me in a different way. Ultimately, my inspiration stems from the collective of artists, healers and adventurists. Having an open mind and a willingness to shift perspective will always fuel inspiration.
What is your creative process/workflow?
My creative process starts outside of the lab. As with any “perfect” photo, it requires precision with timing, temperature and location. Typically, I have predetermined concepts in my head and I scout locations that best fit my vision. Upon arrival, for the most part — I rapid fire because I am VERY particular with photos, so every movement matters to me. My brother and sister have always assisted behind the lens, but as of late, I have been experimenting with random people to embrace different vantage points.
Now, to the lab — I organize my shots by rating in Lightroom and go from there. Typically, I start off in Lightroom and immediately edit in Photoshop in parallel. A lot of my elements (burns/dodges/overlays/among other edits) are adjusted in Photoshop. Once I’ve solidified that edit, I take it back to Lightroom and start working on color grading. I don’t have a preset that I apply. I usually edit each photo individually. For the most part, my tones are a desaturated warmth with dark contrasts.
When it comes to editing, I have my Palette Controllers already preconfigured for my exact needs, so my editing time is literally cut in half.
Because Palette is completely customizable, every edit I need to make is literally at my fingertips. Having the ability to navigate and edit simultaneously just makes the process more fluid. Efficiency is everything in the creative world as it allows for a positive flow in the artistic process.
My most used functions that I have programmed to Palette are:
- Brush size
- Color adjustments
Do you have any tips and tricks for other photographers getting started with Palette?
Palette is a tool — it supplements your work, but it won’t make it better until you determine what’s best for your workflow. Experiment with what works best for you. I moved the location of my Palette Gear at least 5 times before I found the most optimal position for me. I recommend focusing the tool on one program at a time — mastering and understanding what functions work best and then moving onto a different program to see if that practice can be applied in the same manner. After flipping back and forth between applications, I can now integrate my editing practices with Palette without disruption.
Anything else that you’d like to share?
There’s no right or wrong in the creative space. We are all different and unique. We will always see the world differently. What brings us together is the passion for creativity — the idea of creating something out of nothing or expanding on something already beautiful.
Art is infinite and will always bring us together, without prejudice or judgement.
Source: Earth Xploration on Instagram
Follow TC on Instagram to see more of his work.