I am a big fan of genre-bending photography. I love how the elements from different forms and approaches come together to breathe new life into something familiar. One of my favorite photographers who do this perfectly is Slovakia-based photographer Maria Svarbova, with her colorful and atmospheric visual style.

A perfect example is her “Lost in the Valley” series, which we can consider as part conceptual portraits and part fashion portraits to some extent. If you’re looking for more impressive works to inspire your next photography project, I’m sure this series will do the trick.

Working with desert scenes’ colors

The first thing about this series that caught my attention is how Svarbova created a beautiful color palette based on each desert scene. I love how she used colorful wardrobe to contrast the mostly muted hues of the landscape. The scenes she crafted are clean and minimalist, so I found it important that she used a simple yet effective way to use color to achieve that.

I’m also often inspired by clever and effective use of color in photography, and Svarbova has always been my-go to photographer for that. I find that she has a knack for using colors to create an atmosphere that matches the story or visual style she’s going for. “Lost in the Valley,” for example, works best with a bright color palette, both to match the setting and the stories of isolation told through her conceptual portraits.

The desert as a playground for conceptual portraits

Another thing I loved about “Lost in the Valley” is how Svarbova used the empty desert — most likely a portion of the Death Valley — as a scenic playground for her conceptual portraits. Colors are a big part of this, as mentioned earlier, but there’s also a bit of irony in the swimsuit snaps. I actually found that an ingenious way to reinterpret the landscape or use it as a setting for a visual story.

As with most of her work, these conceptual portraits are also great examples of how photographers can get extra creative and imaginative with the locations they choose for their projects. It applies to both straightforward locations like empty spaces and abandoned buildings, and more challenging spots like searing desert valleys. The more creative you’ll be compelled to be, the more rewarding your results tend to be as well.

If you liked and were also inspired by this series, make sure to check out Maria Svarbova’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of her beautiful conceptual portraits.

All photos by Maria Svarbova. Used with Creative Commons permission.