TRAVERSING THE ELVEN WOODS OF GERMANY, WITH CHRISTINA PARMAK-FISCHER

Published by INSPADES Magazine, “Issue Cinque”

BY ANISSA R. STAMBOULI

Step into the mystic and glide through worlds where fairies, elves and fantasy reign. With imaginative scenes blossoming from the frame of her work, photographer Christina Parmak-Fischer seduces the viewer with an ethereal veneer of edits coating each piece, establishing her calibre amid the master circle of German cosplay and fantasy photographers.

“I grew up with my dad’s passion for photography,” says Parmak-Fischer, who spent her childhood in the company of Hasselblad, Leica and Canon cameras. Amid summers spent in “the magical landscape of Norway” with her family, Parmak-Fischer followed her father closely in his hunt for nature’s beauty. “I used to see fairies and trolls out there, but unfortunately they were never in the pictures my dad took,” she recalls fondly of their summer excursions.

It was at the age of nine that Parmak-Fischer acquired her first camera. Taking after her father, she captured friends amid woodland adventures near their hometown in Germany, where the lens aligned with her imagination at last—not just her father’s vision. While Parmak-Fischer’s creativity began to sprout and bud, the stem of her inspiration was suddenly snipped short by the death of her father when she was only thirteen. With an instinctual reaction to the loss of her muse, Parmak-Fischer’s photography withered instantly.

“I did not consciously make this decision,” she remembers, “it just happened.” Yet while the garden of her artistic imagination lay buried beneath a winter of absent use, the roots of her creativity merely hibernated. Many years later, her artistic flare thawed the earth of her hiatus, allowing her aesthetic expression to push through the cracks of her psyche.

“My love for photography showed up again when I got my first smartphone with a camera. Yes, I knew the time before smartphones existed,” Parmak-Fischer jokes. What started as an experiment with mobile shooting eventually bloomed into a serious pursuit of fantasy photography.

To begin, Parmak-Fischer took workshops in model photography and Photoshop, in addition to “learning by doing” as she cultivated her skill. In only two years of fantasy photography work, she established herself in a network of clients, artists and models.

In her featured series, Elven Princess, Parmak-Fischer summons Tolkien-esque charm to achieve a luminescent visual narrative within the woods of Krefeld, Germany. “When I was walking in that park in Krefeld, I thought it was a place where elves should walk,” she remembers. This thought prompted the twelve-week journey that brought Elven Princess to completion, a process that included assembling a team, designing the costumes and finding the right model.

“I started looking for someone to make the costume I wanted. In the meantime, when the costume was in the making, I searched for a model who would perfectly fit into this project,” Parmak-Fischer shares of the project. “I like to work with people I have worked with before, so I mostly work with two makeup artists I know well, and it is the same with my assistants.”

To achieve the perfect hue of heavenly light in her outdoor photography, Parmak-Fischer looks to nature. “99 percent of my pictures are taken only with natural light, and one percent with a little help from a softbox, ring light or beauty dish,” Parmak-Fischer shares, adding, “My dad always said, ‘Flash light—who needs flash light?’ So I never used it until now.”

After spending five hours in post-production with Lightroom and Photoshop, finessing the series’ eleven pictures, Elven Princess was finally complete. Glowing with soft light and subtle polish, each image pangs the viewer with a sense of awe, the angelic air of each scene connoting hidden beauties in the world around us, accessed only by imagination.

When asked about the effects of Instagram on her photography, Parmak-Fischer admitted that the social media channel has acted as a digital muse of sorts, allowing her access to motivating artists such as Bella Kotak and Jamari Lior.

Through Instagram, Parmak-Fischer has also tapped into Germany’s vibrant cosplay and fantasy communities, namely photographers and models. “We all know each other through social media. I have not met everyone in person yet, but I am looking forward to seeing Jamari Lior and Laura Helena again this summer, and I am sure I will meet eosAndy while visiting the upcoming costume-events through the year,” she says, mentioning one of the previously featured artists from INSPADES magazine’s “Issue Quattro”, Andreas Krupa—pseudonym eosAndy.

When she’s not busy at home parenting her nine-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, spending time with her Shetland ponies or helping her husband with his fair construction company, Parmak-Fischer is scouting out her next big idea. Currently, she is busying herself with a “really cool project” in collaboration with a body paint artist. “There will be a woman and a horse—the rest must stay a secret until we are done!”

 

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