THOUGHTFUL INSIGHT IN THE ART PROCESS: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF TOM SUHLER
Photographer Tom Suhler takes photos but not without tremendous thought and planning. His knowledge of history, art, literature, mythology, and philosophy influence the "story" behind each series of photographs that he explores and produces.
In his words, "I am driven by my curiosity of everything and to my desire to stimulate people's imagination and their curiosity. I strive to create pieces that are engaging, open to interpretation, interesting during repeated viewings, and inspiring.
My process often follows the following steps:
Forget everything I know how to do.
Figure out how to create it.
The process is more interesting to me rather than working with the things I already know how to do. There are many more failures than successes this way but it creates more unique and interesting pieces. Besides, if the chance of failure is not significant then success means very little."
The series "Vitruvian Woman" illustrates this approach that is both scholarly and creative. Marcos Vitruvius Pollio, born around 80 BC, served in the Roman army designing and constructing artillery machines. He was also an architect and his most important work was literary. He wrote the only surviving book on architecture from classic antiquity, " De Architectura", known today as "The Ten Books on Architecture". His discussion of the proportions of man inspired people to give those ideas form. It was thought that the proportions of the human body should be able to fit in a circle and a square. The significance of this thought was centered around the belief that the circle represented the cosmic and divine and the square that which was earthly and secular. "The human body wasn't just designed according to the principles that governed the world, it was the world, in miniature." (Smithsonian Magazine)
The most well-known is Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man", the image on the top right. The image in the middle is believed to be the earliest Viturvian man executed by Francisco de Giorgio. Da Vinci did his in 1487 and the one on the left was done in 1521 by Cesare Cesariano. Suhler's "Vitruvian Woman" series was created on set in his studio with no digital manipulations.
Credit given to Smithsonian Magazine (online), Wikipedia, and Tom Suhler for the ideas put forth in this blog.