In addition to the more traditional styles of artistic nudes, and the occasional boudoir photography session, one of my favorite forms of photography is what I call “fantasy nudes.” These are typically composites, and as you might guess from the name, I fill them with fantastical elements, or ideas, including sometimes science-fiction themes. In fact, truth be told, it is, hands down, my favorite type of photography. I am at my most creative in every step of the process. The featured image is one such photo.
Today, I’ll write about a recently-done image for which I just won a first-place ribbon in the Geek Artistique show at the Sorensen Studio in Fresno.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I have removed the image that this post discusses. The image above is another of my fantasy/surreal composites.
The basic idea for this image involved aliens from another planet kidnapping a woman from a farm. In this image, a couple of somewhat-startled cattle stare up from below, in front of their barn, with a nearby tractor. The cattle watch as the nude woman flies into the air towards through a bevy of alien scout ships.
Planning & Building the Project
I love this project not just because of the final image, but the planning, and thinking, and trying to figure out the “how-to” of making that final image happen.
At the start, I already knew I wanted a “top-down” image, so I shot the woman in studio. (The model I used in this shoot is no longer modeling, and I have removed all her images from my site.)
Building the Barn
At that point, I decided to build my own barn for the set. I used 1,013 popsicle sticks. I know this because they come 1,000 to a box. To save time, I used balsa wood for the larger part of the barn. I made that section barely visible in the final image. I built the two pieces of the barn large enough to place one of my studio flash heads (Profoto B1 units, for those interested). Much of the light thus comes out of the barn through the door, windows, and cracks between the boards. This lights the scene, while still making this clearly a night-time misadventure. I pointed another Profoto B1 down from above, creating a circle of light on the ground, and showing that the beam is pulling the woman up.
Shooting & Compositing
Because I shot the scene from above, the actual alien ship kidnapping the woman is (logically) between her and the camera. I needed a way to “imply” the spaceship that was abducting the woman. I thus included four other images of spaceships. This gives the impression the farm was being swarmed by ships, each manned by a single alien. In reality, I used just one spaceship model, photographed from different angles. The woman was shot from above (using a ladder) with a wide-angle lens. I put the entire set together on a dark background, and then composited a photo I took of a barely-covered-with-grass lawn (which I actually took with my iPhone 6s) into the image to create the barnyard ground.
As you can see, the final product blends together quite well in Photoshop.
It’s All About Having Fun
The best part of all? It only took about $200 in parts, plus about 40-50 hours work on the barn, to turn out a first-place winner and gain the $70 prize money!
C’est la vie! I’m not really doing this for the money. My day job allows me to cover such costs, including the cost of my studio.
The fact is that I enjoy doing this type of photography, as I said above, because it allows me to work my creative mind.
Why Not Join the Fun?
If you have a creative idea that you’d like to consider working on with me, please drop me a line. I’m always looking for new models!