by Joseph Linaschke
The back story
I wanted to talk a bit about the story behind this show, and how it came to be.
The story actually starts over 20 years ago. This project has been bouncing around in the back of my head since I was at university, when I saw the book "The Naked & the Nude; Images from the Sculpture Series" by Sky Bergman. You can see some images from the book here, and while the book is out of print, there are copies available via amazon. The edition you see now was published in 2000, but Sky originally self-published the book in 1993.
Sky Bergman was a brand new professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in my second or third year there, starting around 1992 or '93 (she is now the Department Chair). We became good friends and still are to this day, and she was kind enough to send another edition of the book to me when I'd misplaced mine. The book is a series of her photographs taken over ten years of famous sculptures around the world; a large portion of them are Rodin sculptures, and taken in museums in Italy. Everything was photographed on B&W film, probably quite high ISO due to the low light and resulting strong film grain.
I've loved the book since I first saw it, and I immediately wanted to create a similar series but using live models. The concept always was to create images that the viewer would question, even for a brief moment, if the subject was human or sculpture.
This idea sat in the back of my mind for many many years, until early this year (2013) when I had on loan the Leica S2 medium format digital camera. I needed something worthy of the camera, and being less than impressed with it's performance in the field, I needed to do something in the studio. Over the course of a couple of months, the idea came to fruition as I recruited a series of four models, an assistant, a make-up artist and a studio to shoot in (this is before I rented my own space, but this project was also the impetus to take that leap). I also rented an infrared converted camera to shoot with, which I'll talk about that in another post.
The intention was to shoot B&W, shallow depth of field, mimicking the simple (available) light of the original images, and of course posing the models as they were in many of the original sculptures.
And finally, through post processing, I aimed to achieve a look that made the viewer question human or sculpture—if for only a brief moment. I know I was more successful at that with some images than others, but I feel each image is strong alone or in the series, even if the viewer doesn't question the subject. I'll let the critics decide if I was "successful" or not, but to me, this project came out as I envisioned it. I am exceedingly happy with the results, and can't wait to show the prints to the world.
The image above
Again all images are 240dpi at size, and printed at 40ʺ on the long side. This photo is 7735 × 9600 pixels, so 74 Megapixels and 40ʺ × 32.2ʺ.