Monday, 5 December 2011



I always wanted to break out of my body and shape-shift into another form. It is a means of escape or liberation from the limits of the persona. Although such morphing is imagined, my camera can make it concrete.

Using precise choreography and lighting I record a transformation on one frame without further manipulation. Like a shot in cinema, the image is constructed over time with rehearsed movement. The results yield raw states of human emotion.


I find it difficult to clearly define the physical shape of my body. Sometimes I feel tall, sometimes small, sometimes beautiful or ugly, sometimes powerful, joyful or angry. These specific emotions affect my physical perception of myself. They take an actual shape: walking in a good mood I can feel as oddly huge as an eight foot giant, sometimes when feeling shy short people seem taller than me, joyous my face feels big and round or my face can assume bizarre contortions when irritated. I feel the physicality of these emotions as concrete things. I’m a shape-shifter; emotions morph my body sense into odd forms.

My photographic images reflect this awareness; I seek to break the body out of its purely physical human form. I record the ephemeral perception of the internal landscape. Like a snake shedding its skin I use the medium of photography to wiggle the model from their shell to draw out their inner self.

Photography can be brutally selective in its capture of reality. A click of the shutter freezes a moment in time. My work goes in the opposite direction. Instead of capturing a fraction of an event I build the photographic image over time. This approach is more akin to filmmaking than photography. In a movie one choreographs actors and camera to support an emotive theme. In the same way I will develop movement but to record it onto a single frame. I extended the shutter’s time to allow for a person’s movements to sculpt an unusual form.

Collaborating with a model I develop a sequence of gestures to capture the transformation. I start with an idea for a figure or for an emotion then elaborate the sequence to express that original design. Using precise choreography, specific placing and type of light and particular camera settings I trace an image in one shot. There is no manipulation of the images afterwards. Only the work on set spawns the metamorphosis.

Through bodily movement we express our inner self. Each person walks differently as their step reveals their personality. The same is true for a more complex sequence. This insight resonates within my images as each model generates images of a particular character. Some models move to create figures that tend to be more bold, some fearful, others angelic, some androgynous or animalistic. Each person morphs into a form that is unusually strange yet reflects elements of their inner landscape.

**Images are courtesy of the artist**

STEFAN NITOSLAWSKI is now on view until January 8 2012 @ the Galerie Angers in old Montreal.


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