The very first time I heard about Thati Boucher was some time ago, when I saw a photograph of the one and only Caoimhe Lionheart whom I recently interviewed as well. What struck me the most was the combination of the softness of the image, Cao’s eyes, and the mood it portrayed. Having seen that, I started following Thati’s work. She is a prolific photographer; every day she has new photographs posted with various poses and sceneries. So, it was only natural that I contacted her to see if she has time for a photo shoot and a chat. This was my very first interview where the conversation was to be done via the translator. In spite of a couple of challenges, it went smoothly over all, and Thati is an absolute doll who made it all fun.
I arrived at Thati’s place in the middle of a heavenly garden with unique and fun decorations. If you want to get a taste of them, just take a look at her flickr stream and you will see various fun items (a stack of luggage, or sheets of music floating in the water) show up. She had me hop on a pose-stand and we started chatting. After the shoot was over, Thati was kind enough to give me a tour of her sim and the various scenes that she has set up – some great stuff, which totally tempted me to turn my land upside down and set up scenes everywhere. I do have this tendency to put the place together and then tear it all apart and start over. To me, that’s the pleasure of owning land: being able to live in a different environment without worrying about having to pack our clothes or the practicality of the place! Why would I ever need a shower in SL, unless I was doing everything there except taking a shower. Nope, that did not come out right and here I go on a tangent again. My point is that I had a fabulous time hanging out with Thati, and what you read here is a condensed version of our day together.
Leda Carter: Thank you so much for your time, Thati. What a great place this is, with your own designed sets and all.
Thati Boucher: Welcome, Leda! Yes, I have some scenes ready now, and will be constructing more too.
Leda: Your decoration items are so fun and unique. I love it. Where do you find them?
Thati: I basically follow my heart, otherwise the picture will not turn out so well. So, I just dig around in decoration stores, and each item comes from a different place. For example, I adore LISP for objects to use in setting up a scene.
There are some elements here that I love myself too. It makes it charming, but I also quickly tire of a scene, so things are always changing here. I am always looking for something different, something new to set up.
Leda: Do you have any favorite pose makers or poses?
Thati: Not really. My favorites are always the newest! *laughs* Like I said, I tire of things too fast!
Leda: I see! Is your RL relate to photography at all?
Thati: No, Not at all! But, because of this art, I became interested in this area in RL. Today, I have plans to study deeper, learn web design, graphic design, and everything that has to do with image editing.
Leda: How long have you been an SL Photographer?
Thati: I have always loved photos in SL, and started trying to make my own pictures. Next thing, some close friends asked me to photograph them, and it all began… in a very natural way! I began to study hard, read tutorials, and spent long nights looking up information, practicing, and learning. There was nothing overnight about it.
Leda: Who is Thati’s typist, and how did she join the SL community?
Thati: A normal person! *laughs* And, with all the qualities and defects that a human being can have, but very happy to have found my great love Duda Giano in SecondLife.
In 2007, I heard about Second Life through an article in a reputable magazine here, in Brazil. I became interested right away, and the day after I created my SL account. Since then I have not succeeded in getting out! *laughs*
Leda: Your work is so beautiful. Did you know that you would be interested in SL photography when you joined?
Thati: I have always loved pictures. In fact, all forms of art interest me. So, when I found out that, here, I had this ability to capture a moment, an emotion, I fell in love!
But, I knew nothing; I could barely open the photoshop! *laughs* I followed tutorials and I spent many late nights studying them as I mentioned. Also, I had help from a dear friend, Queroniza Fride, who knew photoshop, and who is an excellent photographer and generously gave me many tips.
I’m very dedicated; I do not like to deliver photos late, and get mad if there is a flaw. If I am late due to RL reasons, I am super worried about leaving to meet my schedule here.
Leda: Yes, I know making time in SL can be a challenge. What are some of the challenges of being a photographer?
Thati: Hard to say, but I believe the biggest challenge is the viewers. The best we had, for photos, was Kirstens in my opinion. But, now it is outdated. Having a viewer that is good for taking pictures is not asking too much, is it? *laughs* Today, I use Firestorm. The official Linden viewer, for me, is not at all easy to take good pictures.
With firestorm, there is the ease of changing skies, the lights. Also, I think it has a lighter impact than others – I always use ULTRA settings with shadows enabled, so I need a lightweight and effective viewer.
Timewise, I take my clients during the day 4pm until 12 pm (SLT), monday through friday. At night, I make videos with my SL husband, who incidentally is talented. Other than that, I try to enjoy all of my SL moments and do things for pleasure, of course I go to some parties and meet some friends, there is time for everything! *smiles*
Leda: Ah, your husband is an artist as well?
Thati: Yes, he is an artist, ah (feel my pride for him? *smiles*). He makes unbelievable videos in CLIPS style. We help each other. He is my biggest critic and helps me see flaws that sometimes pass my by. And, I am always there for the videos, helping with lighting, set design, decoration, and costumes.
Leda: How about some tips on how we can take better pictures?
Thati: First thing is to pay attention to light, too bright or too dark will not help in making a great picture. You can achieve good lighting by adjusting the sky and other lighting elements. The second thing is the scene! A set can “lift” a photo or ruin it, so be careful what you want to appear in your photo!
Leda: Where does your inspiration for the scenery or mood from?
Thati: Depending on my mood, a photo is “born”. They reflect very much what I’m feeling. For example, if something saddens me or if I’m not feeling good, I don’t work on photos because I know all are going to be ugly when I see them next. *laughs*
I usually get lots of orders for projects. When a client comes with very specific ideas for the photo, I think the outcome is never very good. I work better when I create in the moment, I need to believe in my instincts for that moment.
Leda: Has your experience and skill made you want to take more pictures in rl?
Thati: After SL photography began to interest me, I started to look at everything differently. I pay more attention to detail, to lighting. I think my RL photos improved a bit too. I don’t know if I want to become an RL photographer, but for sure my family appreciates the enhanced photos that they can get nowadays. *laughs*
Leda: I am always interested in how our experiences in SL can affect RL. Do you think that is true for you at all?
Thati: Yes, SL influences my RL and vice versa. Many things I learn here in SL I apply in my RL; they are complementary to one another.
Leda: Is that true socially, as well as professionally?
Thati: Yes, both forms. For example, some friends of SL are now part of my RL. A while ago I traveled with a friend from SL – it was fun! We traveled for two weeks. Another friend came here with her husband, or I have another SL friend who lives in the same city as me, so we meet in both SL and RL.
Leda Through Thati’s Eyes
Leda: It does not sound like you are one of those who want to keep RL and SL separate.
Thati: I think this story of separating SL and RL is very hard… I can’t do it. *laughs* People I love and meet here are part of my RL, like Duda, Tyta (who besides being a great friend helps me with set design and is an excellent decorator), or Queroniza (my SL sister, photographer, and an amazing DJ). I don’t know how to have them leave my world just because I have turned off the computer. I am only one, only one heart, one person, I can not see the separation!
Leda: Thati, it has been such a pleasure to know you.
Thati: Also, a pleasure to have you here. I thank you for featuring my work. It is an honor.