Conceptual artist and photographer Carl Warner is known for his elaborate foodscapes, where he uses edible ingredients to put together fantasy environments. But for another series, Warner uses something else to make his fictional landscapes come to life—the human body. His Bodyscapes use different anatomical elements to create eye-catching and shocking realistic landscape compositions.
Bodyscapes is a whole different animal from his foodscapes, which are carefully planned and orchestrated ahead of time. While Warner always has the final result in mind, working with the human body is a challenge and pushes him to work spontaneously and see where the shoot leads him. Though each bodyscape looks like a collection of different intertwining bodies, Warner actually works with one model to achieve the final look within each image. After photographing their body from different angles, everything is brought together in post-production. This is a purposeful choice by the photographer.
“I know people would love these to be made with many different bodies, but doing this will mean having different skin tones which will lose the sense of continuity within the landscape,” Warner tells My Modern Met. “I also like the fact that it is all made from one individual as it offers an aspect of alternative portraiture and becomes a more intimate connection with the subject. I also want to avoid the images looking too sexual and I think that mixing bodies at the shooting stage may cause the images to lean this way. I am more interested in the form and structure that brings a sense of place to the body as the space in which we dwell.”
With titles like Valley of the Reclining Woman and The Cave of Abdo-men, Warner brings a bit of wit and humor to the work. But at the same time, there is a real sense of high art in the work. Warner's use of light and shadow, as well as his ability to expertly compose the bodies, make each image an aesthetic treat.