“Is that real?”
There was a time when this question really annoyed me. I would answer with an exasperated “does it matter?” or else perhaps just an icy silence and eye roll.
That was back in my photographic days when I was doing increasingly abstract studio work, having dabbled in a variety of standard genres before settling on figure studies and The Nude as my preferred subject for expression.
I was interested in reducing the human form to its most basic, core elements of shape and form. I explored various ways to isolate and accentuate this through a combination of unusual poses, compositions, and/or dramatic lighting, usually followed by a liberal dose of darkroom wizardry.
Often this resulted in images where it was difficult to tell what the original subject had been, or even that the medium was photographic. The “is that real” queries would come from other photographers who always seemed (at least to me) far too obsessed with figuring out what they were looking at, how I’d created it, and what equipment I’d used. Instead, I wanted people to focus on the image, not the technique.
I still want that.
In the years that followed my work became progressively more abstract, and with the dawn of the digital era my camera was soon relegated to the closet and my darkroom rapidly filled with cobwebs while I indulged myself with unconstrained pixels on a digital canvas. I became captivated by the “unreal.”
It’s quite ironic that I would promptly spend the next couple decades learning, exploring, and working professionally within a field where the overriding goal is to create as seamless as possible an illusion of reality.
There’s an axiom that the more natural or organic a subject, the more difficult it is to make a convincing CGI version of it. Over time, though, advances in software and the exponential increase in computing horsepower has brought us closer and closer to to achieving that goal.
A handful of years ago the technology (and my ability to afford and use it) finally reached a point where I felt I could began attempting the most difficult challenge of all: rendering convincing-looking 3D human models.
There are many elements that go into that process (I’ll refrain from giving the lengthy details) but this long preamble now finally brings us to a point where I can give something of an “artist’s statement” as to the intent of this website.
First and foremost, this a place to present images that can stand artistically on their own merit and hopefully wouldn’t seem out of place if hung in a gallery or exhibition. The Nude is a classic subject; and I delight in exploring the human form, its subtle curves and shapes, and the interplay of light and shadow. This is the type of work I greatly enjoyed in my photographic days. Now I can return to it using a different medium.
This site also gives me a place to refer someone to when they ask what I do for a living and then don’t have the faintest idea what I’m talking about when I try to answer. I design the lighting (and often create or enhance some of the other underlying elements of the scene as well, such as the 3D models).
Making these serves a further purpose of letting me test my own products in an actual (small scale) production environment. I have to do that anyway, so I might as well enjoy it. While a few images have subsequently been used elsewhere in my promotional material, this site is most emphatically NOT intended as a vehicle to sell my services.
And finally, above and beyond the artistic aspects of it all, I simply enjoy the process itself…I love the complexity and the challenge of trying to create an image where the viewer wonders: “Is that real?”
Now when I’m asked, though, I take it as a compliment.