Yeah, I watched the Wayne White documentary recently and really enjoyed it. The artist used the phrase "Beauty is Embarrassing" in one of his word paintings and explained how beauty so often makes us feel embarrassed. So true. Photoshop retouching is an embarrassing phenomenon. Trained artists cover up and blur out the bits of human anatomy that make us uncomfortable: armpits, blemishes, cellulite, whatever. This is done to pretty much all editorial photographs, and it's not just that they cover shit up, they shift, squeeze and manipulate things to make for a hotter bod or more sculpted visage.
This is strange and fascinating. In some respects it's morally abhorrent. These images are presented as photographs, documentation of an actual person and event, but they've been manipulated beyond the facts and often beyond the actual capabilities of the human anatomy. And then little girls say "Why don't I look like that, no matter how much I try?" and then little boys say "Why don't you look like that?" It's kinda sad.
Anyhow, my beautiful friends Ruth Yoo, Annelise Hewit and Julia Thompson were nice enough to let me digitally manipulate them. So now we get to see what they'd look like with extensive plastic surgery (I guess photoshop aint all bad). They are titled: K-Pop Diva, LA Socialite and NY Media Mogul.
I'd like to have these made into lenticular prints, because GIFs seem to be the lenticular prints of the 2000s. Maybe mounted on some light boxes or with some little plastic frames. I have a couple lenticular prints of Jesus and Mary from the 1940s, that I hold dear to my heart. They're blinking and shifting their hands around, Mary has a lot of make-up on and neatly pencilled eyebrows. I've been thinking on this idea for a while, so hopefully more on this soon.
On Wednesday I was given the great gift of being able to work with bodybuilder/model/creative Fleur Yvette De Kine on a photo shoot at the Ibarn in Wallingford. The possibilities in such a situation are endless. I was going nuts running around with my little camera in one hand, costumes, props and sketches in the other, dodging piles of raccoon shit as we explored the divine piece of property at our creative disposal for the day.
The real joy was getting to work with such an unconventionally beautiful female figure. I'm used to seeing work that represents either a round fertile female, or the thin boyish frame that you see in art and media today. Ancient Grecian and Roman art would often prize the muscular physique of female athletes, but I don't think there have been too many muscular women in the world of popular images since then. Since Fleur is a bodybuilder she brought a vocabulary of poses that worked to highlight specific muscles and make the best of her physique.
Here is a sneak peek of some the images. More to come, I'm going to let them sit and ripen for a little while before I come back in with my little bag of tricks.
Thanks to Maia and Baptiste for letting me use their art and barn. The sculptures in the first photo are by Baptiste Ibar. http://www.baptisteibar.com/