I call this series “Sculptography”. Wanting to capture the essence of sculptures form the 18th and 19th centuries though photography, I posed my models in an effort to capture in flesh the elegant simplicity of a particular statue.
I saw Jean Antoine Houdon’s full figure sculpture “Winter” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and my first response was that it would make a beautiful photograph. As I started thinking of people I knew who had the body to express the art I was looking at, and who might also have the right amount of confidence (or the right amount of trust, which is almost the same, or more valuable in a model when vulnerability is needed).
At the same time, I began looking at other sculptures that would also translate into photographs, and in the process other people I knew came to mind who would be by nature the right fit for the attitudes that had inspired another artist to capture them in sculpture.
The nature of sculpture is architectural; both require the ability to stand through careful planning and engineering, and both rely on line to express themselves. Since my other subject matter is often architecture, I chose to capture my models as if they were architecture. Using prior architecture shooting, helped me to distance from the fact that this was a person, and focus on portions of the human form as opposed to portraiture. This approach makes this series more like sculpture than portraiture.
This process involves the model looking at the art, internalizing the art, and then expressing what they saw as the pose. Because art often lacks words while expressing complex emotion, the different models express slightly different focus in each pose based on what they felt was the stronger, more important body gesture. After this is established, I can then adjust lighting, and adjust the model so that the final image is a combination of what they interpreted, and what I felt looking at the same piece of art. In this way I use the conversation between the muse piece of art, the model, the photography and myself to create a new sculpture.
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