A celebration of the art of modeling, with Natalie Wolfe.
Russian writer and aristocrat Leo Tolstoy on one winter night in the late 19th century became so absolutely disgusted with the level of poverty in Moscow that he took his entire fortune and walked through the streets, distributing money to the poor. His critics, mostly from the aristocracy, said that the gesture was empty–whatever Tolstoy gave would be quickly exhausted, and the poor would be poor once again. For Tolstoy, however, it didn’t matter that his gesture was a single dim candle in the midst of a dark cold night. He believed that his light would not stand on its own; instead, it would be added to the “sum of light” in which a thousand candles would burn at once, expelling the darkness. The issue, for Tolstoy, was less about money than it was about creating connections between humans.
Models, the unsung heroes of the photographic industry, work on the same principle as Tolstoy; the work they do in creating art spreads light by building meaningful connections among people. The essence of a model’s job in art photography is to connect people to visual art. Models who are merely a physical presence in an image rarely succeed; instead, models are required to use their life experience to gain a visual connection to their audience and deliver a meaningful message that evokes feeling and emotion. Theirs is a spiritual food for the soul. After all, art enriches life. Humans are hard-wired to create and appreciate art–we’ve been creating art since our beginning.
—Skilled models use the energy of their personality to take over an image and make that image into something very special that can connect the producers of the image to its audience, and people to each other in the realm of ideas.
—For good photographs, visual representation of the real is not the goal; instead, the photograph must have something to say that goes beyond its immediate content to the viewer.
—Such images are not simply entertaining, instead they are meaningful in themselves at a base level. They are the fusing of a photographer’s technique and the model’s use of the body to create a work of visual art.
As you view the images, you will be examining the work of a very skilled model who is able to use the force of her personality and life experience to express human emotions through the medium of still photography. You are invited to look closer, and ponder what the images say to you about: the good, and the bad; the light, and the dark; and the sheer beauty and elegance that humans are capable of producing through the creative process. Think about the role the model, Natalie Wolfe, plays in each of the images as she conveys meaning from her life experience to yours.
—As Tolstoy noted: “Art is not handicraft; it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.” In the end, Tolstoy’s light of altruism connects us all as human beings, as does the light of shared experience and meaning.
About Michael Bomberger
Michael Bomberger, founder of Archangel Images, is an art photographer based in Pennsylvania, United States. Bomberger’s work focuses mainly on elevating expressions of the purity and elegance of the human form, capturing high quality images in both digital and analogue media. His work has been featured in galleries and magazines in both Europe and America.