Last Updated on 02/23/2019 by Mark Beckenbach
All images by Holger Pooten in collaboration with Recom Farmhouse. Used with Creative Commons permission.
We’ve seen a fair number of projects that combine photography with digital art. It’s tricky territory to tread but a good number of the projects are pretty interesting. Now, we add to that number a project by German-born, London-based photographer Holger Pooten, done in collaboration with international CGI and Creative Retouching team Recom Farmhouse.
The mere mention of the teams involved is already a big clue to the kind of work the project entailed. Fittingly yet unofficially dubbed Fireman, it’s a bold conceptual work that tells about the adventures of a man on fire strutting around town (or so I imagine). According to Recom Farmhouse, the project was shot for 125 Magazine. A GoSee news post, meanwhile, mentioned that Pooten’s highly flammable series was inspired by the cover art of the Pink Floyd album Wish You Were Here.
So, how exactly were the photos created? Recom Farmhouse said that Hooten brainstormed with them and came up with the plan of shooting the model in different locations around East London, then shooting some mannequins on fire in another studio. Next, was of course, compositing the two sets of photos together to create the slightly unsettling imagery of Fireman.
“We kept setting mannequins alight until we had enough flames and smoke to work with in post-production in order to retouch them onto the real model.
“Each flame had to be masked and composited with a mix of different blending modes as one of the tricky things about compositing fire is that it can’t just be screened or multiplied,” Recom Farmhouse said on how the fire photos were shot and composited.
While compositing falls more on the realm of digital art that actual photography itself, we can’t argue that the craft is capable of bringing creative ideas to life. Fireman is a fine example that pushes the boundaries of photography and elevates digital art.