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Mud Makes Man Appear (14 pics)

31-year-old Alejandro Maestre Gasteazi has created an incredibly interesting photographic series about the struggle of an artist. First, though, you may be asking yourself these questions: Exactly, what are we looking at? How did the photographer achieve this strange, sculpture-like illusion?

Gasteazi asked his friend Julin to cover himself with a mixture of blue paint and mud. He then photographed Julin at various stages. Later, in Photoshop, Gasteazi cut around his subject's body to make him appear like a floating sculpture.

Enjoy the series as a whole and then read our interview with the photographer. Finally, check out some great, behind-the-scenes shots he sent to us.

How did you create these sculptures? Were they made digitally or with more traditional materials?
The truth is that no sculpture was used. What we see is the sculptor's body (Julin Cnovas) covered with mud from head to toe.

The sculptures show a man struggling with himself. Can you tell us the background story? What were you trying to convey?
Julin is a good friend who I deeply respect; he is a multidisciplinary and complete artist. He is, at the same time, a film director, sculptor, painter, photographer and writer. He suggested, a long time ago, the idea of doing a portrait of him that could describe his capacity of creating and his constant search to understand his body and spirit. All these made me think about his work and helped me to develop the idea of this work.

Therefore, with this photograph series I intend to show an artist fighting to get to know and shape himself and turn into a better human being.

Are the sculptures suppose to be of a man slowly forming? Should they be seen as part of a full series?
Yes. This is a photograph series show a sequence of how Julin shapes himself. Even though there are some images that can work out on their own, I think the series format is more interesting and gives the whole work more dynamism and expressiveness. The sequence format in photography has always seemed very interesting to me and I hope to keep on using it in further works.

How much post process work was done in Photoshop?
This image could not have been obtained without the help of digital post production techniques, although it really was easier than it seems. As in any other artistic discipline, technique is very important, even though in this case the development of the idea was far more complex.

To do the picture, the only thing I did was to add children's blue paining to the mud; this would help me later on, during the Photoshop phase, to choose only those parts that had been soaked with mud.

These image were taken before the digital post production process.

Gasteazi studied photography at the Universidad Politcnica de Catalua (CITM), where he worked as lighting teacher. He's taught for more than 10 years at several schools in Barcelona. In 2003, he founded CitizenPixel, a company that specializes in production of advertising images, where he's worked with such companies as Audi and Burberry.

Currently, his career as a photographer has two main aspects: He trains and researches new digital post production techniques, and he works as an independent photographer. He's also the coordinator of Arte/Facto, an online training school where he teaches digital post production.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Maestre. What an incredibly cool illusion.

Maestre Gasteazi's website

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