This “strawberry” was created by having a very lithe dancer curl up, upside down; I came in close with a wide angle lens to enlarge her bottom and narrow her shoulders. And, finally, in the computer, I colored her body red, and added extra hands tinted green to create an entirely fantastic fruit.
In my studio, driven by curiosity and a kind of gut compulsion, I attempt to create things that have not previously existed, that are truly new, unusually different and sometimes peculiar.
My visual quests result from a constant process of failure, self-critical thinking, and a continual search for what “works.” That’s how art is done: you try something, and if it fails, or is close, you try something a little (or a lot) different. Sometimes it takes hundreds of tries, variations, mini and macro adjustments, to get to the point of “That’s it!” There are times when, after days and even weeks, nothing works and you just have to give up and move on to another “idea.“
The studio is where I feel truly at home, artistically. I am able to conjure ways to turn the real into the surreal, or even unreal. I can add elements and arrange them to augment my ideas, search for the fantastic, engage unusual and talented people, especially dancers and models, come up with strange and provocative sets, clothing, make-up and poses, then light, direct and press the shutter to capture what I hope are purely original photographs.
What follows are images that sprang from my imagination, and endless rounds of trial and error, within the controlled conditions of my studio.
This semi-baffling beauty editorial shot was made with the use of a few strobe flashes while the camera remained open (about ½ second). I asked the model to move while I moved the camera at the same time, with gelled flash on the colored background.
Use of fluorescence, which is the instant change of light from one wavelength to another, a property of some chemicals in nature. In this case, I added the chemical, sodium fluorescein to Karo syrup and poured the syrup down the model’s back.
I use a blue gelled light which turned the syrup green while his skin that was “dry” remained blue. I then identified the blue and turned it black in photoshop and enhanced the “glow” of the drips.
To create a sense of mystery in this editorial beauty photo, I had a wall built of thin glass tubes each one reversing the image; the spaces between the tubes, show the true image.
To create the stages of a dazzling move to the basket, I put the camera on a tripod and had this talented athlete turn, twist and jump toward the hoop many, many times, photographing each move. I then chose images to arrange “choreography,” creating a dream dunk for an editorial about sports clothes for L’Uomo Vogue. What appears here is impossible—he starts, on the viewer’s right high, comes down a bit and rises to the basket, all in the air.
It’s always a challenge to make a unique beauty photograph. For this one, I made a pattern out of black film, placed it in a 2” x 2” super slide, then projected and focused it onto the model while using various colored gels to alter her reality.
The possibilities for making fantasies in the studio are like a limitless playground for me.