Robin Macmillan is a fine art photographer from Newmarket, Canada. Her journey into conceptual portraiture began six years after a life changing diagnosis of breast cancer. Her work has been featured on Yahoo’s “The Weekly Flickr”, PhotoVogue, Lamono Magazine, Phlearn, PhotoNews Canada, CanPhoto, CDN Photographer, the Toronto Star, Fluster and Below Magazine and many book covers.
Her painterly but storytelling images range from underwater ethereal to emotion merging with nature. Her latest series Footprints takes us into her world of looking at environmental issues in a new way.
Robin Macmillan – Photography had been a long time coming for me. Twenty-five years ago I found myself at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada, struggling to find my place in the fine art world. I spent hours and hours painting portraits and studying composition, light, colour, variety and balance never dreaming that this would be the preliminary education to my photography career. Fast forward twenty years, through an unfulfilling film career, very little creative outlets, the birth of my daughter and finally to a mind-blowing breast cancer diagnosis, I only then found my home with photography.
It was the breast cancer diagnosis with my daughter being only one year old that really did it. Those words just smack you in the face so hard that you can’t help but see the world in a new way. Life is short, life is a gift and I know that now. I left my art department film career behind and threw myself wholeheartedly into my family and photography.
It was an easy transition for me to move into photography using the same genre I had used in my painting. The conceptual part was a surprise calling I had never felt before though. I wanted to create beautiful, painterly images but I also wanted to say something with my work. I paired this with my desire to clean up the environment and my ongoing series Footprints was born.
This award winning environmental series focuses on major ecological issues that we face as a society. It is meant to pose the question “How big is your carbon footprint?” by taking on subjects like air and water pollution, vanishing honeybees and deforestation. The first in the series “Leaving the Grid Behind” was what gave the series its title by focusing on one’s own carbon footprint. Need vs. want. Throughout the series the viewer will find a recurring theme of dramatic skies and green/yellowish toxic hues to create the feeling of an ailing world. The only time you don’t see the ominous tones is in a photo called “Rising Up An Earthen Beauty.” It technically isn’t part of the series but I often find myself including it because this is the photo that made me believe I could portray environmental concerns in a conceptual way. It was a commissioned piece and the more I looked at it I found myself imagining Mother Earth rising up out of a decaying earth.
As I thought more on the vast amount of environmental concerns, the ideas started coming to me and I found myself in felled fields, live bee farms, airport highways, polluted waters and even a black lava beach in Iceland. As the series continues, the hardest part is getting to the locations I want to shoot at but I love the challenge! Footprints has become so much more to me than a photographic series. It has become an education, an inspiration and most of all an outstanding adventure.
Of all my conceptual work this is the series that I look upon with the most pride. I’ll never know for certain why I got breast cancer but I do believe a large amount of cancers come from our toxic environment and I want to do what I can to clean it up.
I am now six years past my diagnosis and very happy to say I am doing well with my health. My fine art journey of creating painterly but impacting storytelling images continues… [Official Website]