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How a St. John’s-based photographer and her unlikely muse captured international attention – CBC.ca

Photography

Photographer Ting Ting Chen, left, says her good friend Robert Tilley, right, showed her around Newfoundland and Labrador when she moved to the province five years ago. (Submitted by Ting Ting Chen)

It’s a photograph — of a man with a long, white beard wearing a fur coat — that almost resembles a 17th-century painting.

When photographing her subject in the award-winning portrait The Duke, photographer Ting Ting Chen said her goal was to achieve the feeling of a Rembrandt painting through photography.

The process was made easier, she said, because of her emotional bond with the man in front of the camera — her friend and artistic muse, Robert Tilley.

“I could take photos of many other subjects or many other people, but Robert inspired me a lot because I think he looks very special in front of a lens,” said Chen, a photographer and student at Memorial University who’s originally from China.

Chen’s photograph of Tilley, called The Duke, won gold in the 2020 Budapest International Foto Awards and was the overall winner in the non-professional category (single image) of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards. (Submitted by Ting Ting Chen)

Chen’s photo of Tilley won gold in the 2020 Budapest International Foto Awards and was the overall winner in the non-professional category (single image) of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, an international photography award for women photographers. The award gave her the chance to exhibit her photos from Newfoundland and Labrador in Barcelona’s FotoNostrum gallery.

Tilley, who’s from Newfoundland, has now had his portrait seen by people around the world. Above all else, he says he’s impressed by what his good friend can do with a camera.

“The pictures themselves, I think are really good pictures, whether they be me or anyone,” said Tilley. “I would have to applaud her capability of doing the pictures.”

An unlikely duo

Before moving to Newfoundland five years ago to pursue a PhD in folklore, Chen, 36, says she met Tilley on Facebook. She says she knew Tilley as a friend of Philip Hiscock, a professor in Memorial University’s folklore department.

But what was originally a Facebook contact soon became a real-life friend and artistic inspiration, says Chen.

When she arrived in Newfoundland, she connected with Tilley in person and he gave her a tour of his home in Brigus South, as well his other place in Elliston. Eventually, Tilley and his wife invited Chen to spend the summer with them in Brigus in 2018.

Tilley has been photographed many times by Chen, including at his home in Brigus. (Submitted by Ting Ting Chen)

“That is actually the beginning of my trip around Newfoundland,” said Chen. “Not every Facebook friend turned out to be real good friends in real life, so I feel lucky, I feel fortunate that …….

Source: https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMiamh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmNiYy5jYS9uZXdzL2NhbmFkYS9uZXdmb3VuZGxhbmQtbGFicmFkb3IvcGhvdG9ncmFwaGVyLW11c2UtaW50ZXJuYXRpb25hbC1yZWNvZ25pdGlvbi0xLjY2NzQ1ODPSASBodHRwczovL3d3dy5jYmMuY2EvYW1wLzEuNjY3NDU4Mw?oc=5

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