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Photographing Living Statues

Updated on July 21, 2013

Photographic sculptures comprises a photographic project that resembles a combination of arts.

The easiest way to achieve this combination of these two art forms, photography and sculpting, is to basically fool the eye into thinking that one is looking at a marble or other type of sculpture that seems to be very real or lifelike through creating sculpting effects with good make up, body paint, digital editing manipulation, props and creative lighting effects.

One of the first steps is to make your own "base" and this is nothing more than a frame, albeit a large one, which is painted or decorated to make it appear as if made from marble. The back drop also has to match the design and look of the frame. Think of as if you were making a large box; large enough for the models to stand up and wide enough to allow for multiple poses and more than one model at a time.

The second step is to dress up models, complete with body paint and or makeup , that makes that makes them appear as being marble statues. This should include any appropriate props such as swords, togas, sandals, olive wreaths etc.

To photograph your set up pay attention to the light set up. One photo lamp at each side and angled in a 45 degree array should be more than enough. If you want to add more zest to the set up, then have some small light sources set behind the models. These can be placed behind the backdrop through small openings.

Your models should be posed as if recreating scenes usually found in Ancient Greek, Roman sculptures. Many of these were usually battle scenes but scenes of everyday life were often used to decorate wall and pottery, these will be easier to pose than battle scenes.

First get a look at various samples scenes as depicted in pottery, walls and so on. The best source will be, as it is many times, the Internet. Printing these samples and sharing them with the models will go a long way towards helping them understand what it is that you are aiming for. They also provide you with sorts of a sketch which can be very useful.

If you are handy with a digital editing program then the variations really become open for you. For example you can have a model painted with body paint in basically any color, although a marble color will probably work best, photograph them against a black backdrop and manipulate the image by making digital cuts to resemble an unfinished piece.

Another method is to take one main photograph of a model, print hundreds of prints of the same image, make a soft foam shape in the form and pose of the main photograph and glue individual cut pieces from the printed copies unto this foam base and finally applying an overcoat of clear acrylic.

In essence you are taking a two dimensional format and converting it into a three dimensional representational medium. However, this process takes a lot of effort and time and can get costly too.

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

However,by far the best way is to simply seek out professional models who specialize in becoming "living statues".

There are many street artists who earn a living from transforming themselves into statutes and standing still for long periods at various street corners, festivals and so on.

If you go this route, which is the best method and the one I use, focus on the models and if possible isolate them by cropping with the lens, from any other distraction such as passers by, cars, store fronts etc.

Once the images are done and presented to your audience it should provide a surreal effect once the viewers learn that they are looking at real people.

However, if from the start the images clearly show that these are street performers then the effect is lessened.

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source


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