Tell us about your image, HUMAN TOTEM.
Carnisch: I’ve been creating images since I was a child: drawings, comics, illustrations. When I switched to photography, my ambitious goal was to create something different from what had been already done. “Human Totem” is probably one of the best examples, especially when one considers that the original picture dates back to 1991.
At that time it was not common to see so many nudes in a picture, at least in Italy. I conceived that image for advertising a line of cosmetics for the body.
I made the drawing of the totem for showing the idea at the client and then, after the approval, I tried to replicate it in studio.
It was not easy to get it, especially as regards the symmetry. They were 10 models and not acrobats or members of Circus du Soleil. The picture published in the Musée Magazine N.7 is a recent post produced version of the original image, where I got a perfect symmetry by copying and pasting one half of the totem (mirror effect) and adding the curtains. I made it for the cover of my new book “Artificial Artworks 2”, where I’ve collected my best creative pictures of the last 3 years.
What type of Energy were you trying to express or capture in this photograph?
C.: There are different kinds of energy evoked by that image. The most clear deals with the power of the human body, able to create complex architectures based on a difficult balance. Models sustain each other and their individual posture makes sense and becomes beautiful only in the collective. It’s the energy of the group, where the individual strength is addressed to a general objective.
Moreover, even if that pyramidal shape appears firm and still, it conveys a sense of inner power, such as a volcano that could suddenly explode and project its internal energy towards the sky. A further source of energy, perhaps less obvious, concerns the totem. As it represents some kind of divinity, the totem develops a sort of magnetic attraction to the mass of believers. We can imagine strange dances and rituals around it and even cruel fights in name of it.
Why photography? What about it inspires and excites you?
C.: As I said before, for many years I have expressed myself through drawings, comics and illustrations (up to hyperrealism).
While attending the University I felt frustrated by the lack of time for carrying out my flourishing ideas.
Thanks to a book with the best advertising campaigns worldwide, I discovered the potential of photography both in terms of creativity and time saving: it is faster taking a picture than making an illustration with the airbrush. I bought a camera and immediately tried to shoot unusual pictures.
I didn’t care about landscapes, portraits, pets, still-life and so on.
Artificial and unexpected.
That's the best way to describe my pictures, as they portray weird and unreal situations materialized only for the sake of the shooting, making sense only in the viewfinder of the camera, lasting only for a few clicks of the shutter and then disappearing forever. Of those short-lived stories remain only rare pictures, the inner reason of their genesis.
The opportunity and the challenge to create something unique and eye catching is what inspires and excites me.
The digital evolution of photography is a dream that came into life: it has enormously widened my degrees of freedom and allowed me to take advantage again of my skill with the pencil.
I feel myself a creator of images rather than a photographer.
Our upcoming issue is centered around the theme of “Fantasy”. What is your fantasy right now?
C.: I’m currently working on a new series, named “Mysterious Walls”. When walking in many Italian cities, you can see houses and walls built centuries ago or even in the Middle Ages.
Looking at those old peeling walls, I often think how many ages they have seen go by and to whom and how many events they have witnessed.
Sometimes my imagination sees traces of human beings, faces and bodies weakly emerging from the cracks of those walls crumbling and eroded by time. So I started to take pictures of old walls and then add light clues of human images aligned with the imperfections of the walls.
The project is to make a video where the human trace will slowly emerge and then disappear from each wall, as if the viewer had had a momentary vision of a ghost.
I usually make a video version for each of my series (i.e. Tribal Sculptures, Stop Motion, Black Profiles, Tortured Fruit & Veggies, Splash!, Dancer in the Sky, etc.), supported by a powerful soundtrack I personally mix and edit, selecting pieces of classic and modern music unknown to most people.
I think it is the best way to enjoy my world.
Roberto Roseano aka Carnisch