“My photos are natural and raw”: Romain Lenancker crafts mesmerising worlds without 3D software

Using little to no post-production, the Paris-based creative explores the magic moment when a set comes to life.

27 January 2022

What you’re looking at right now is a series of photographs. Yep, photographs – not digital renders. They’re raw images created by the Paris-based creative Romain Lenancker, who often gets mistaken for a 3D artist and has gone as far to state “#no3d” in his Instagram bio. And we can see why.

We last heard from the creative six years ago, and since then, he has evolved from set designer to artist polymath. Now, the creative works across the entire production line from the set to the manufacturing and photographing. He’s also just finished up his first book, which encompasses three years’ worth of image-making, so there’s a lot to update us on in terms of process, style and key projects. But despite the natural progression of his practice, he still very much leans towards this supernaturally pristine aesthetic, as well as adhering to his ethos of using little to no post-production. “My photos are natural and raw without a lot of retouching,” he says. “The decor is fabricated, it is only set design and light.”


Romain Lenancker: Une autre origine du monde (Copyright © Romain Lenancker, 2021)

In today’s digital world, it’s easy to assume that a portfolio like Romain’s has been crafted using 3D techniques. It’s so wonderfully smooth that surely this has been generated by a computer. Yet Romain purposely goes against this assumption. “The reason why is that I believe in serendipity, this magic moment when a fabricated set becomes more, how a simple object with only lighting can be transformed into a universe on its own,” he says. “I do not think I can recreate this moment with 3D.” Working in this manner means that no two days are the same for Romain. Half of the time he’s on a commercial shoot for clients such as Apple, Gucci, Dior or Chanel, while the other half is spent crafting his personal projects. When he’s not behind the camera, he’ll be working alongside his team developing materials and diving deep into research and lighting.

Romain has spent the past four years on a body of work entitled Une autre origine du monde (which translates to “another origin of the world”). In this series, we’re witnessing oil-slick objects float against a stark black background, eerily referencing the expansiveness of space and the endless possibilities of the universe. Aptly describing the work as a “journey through cosmic saga”, Romain has crafted a series of pictures that depict strange and sometimes-familiar compositions akin to planets, bubbles, particles, jewellery and “waves filling the universe”, he adds. “But they stay open to interpretation.”

Not only does Romain leave his concepts open-ended for his audience; he also hopes that those who step foot into his crystal galaxies are able to immerse themselves fully – “to the point of feeling a sense of reality related to the subject,” he says. “For example a sensation of cold or hot, imagining if it is day or night.” By not giving anything away too easily, he’s left room for the imagination to run free.

GalleryRomain Lenancker: Une autre origine du monde (Copyright © Romain Lenancker, 2021)

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Romain Lenancker: Une autre origine du monde (Copyright © Romain Lenancker, 2021)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.

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