Photographer Hugh Kretschmer is known for a one-of-a-kind, playful style, one that teases viewers’ imaginations. His eclectic photos appeal on multiple levels: Not only are they consistently surreal and fun, they’re also the result of a very unexpected hands-on process. Though the photos appear heavily Photo-shopped, they’re actually the result of a labor-intensive approach. I first encountered Kretschmer’s work in 2007, while I was the editor of Graphis, and I’ve loved his photography ever since.
For Kretschmer’s latest series, “Blustery Day,” (pictured above) he constructed dreamlike sets and shot models from above while they lay on the studio floor. Says Kretschmer, “I was after a very whimsical and highly fanciful feeling. The scenarios were all very unrealistic, so I wanted the setting, styling and models to follow suit.”
Most of the elements we see in the final photo were constructed by Kretschmer himself, and were a real part of the studio’s physical set. Each of the three images above, says Kretschmer, is the product of “one shot with very little compositing.”
The clouds were made of foamcore, fiberfil, and muslin embroidered with yarn. The flowers were inkjet prints of flowers cut-out into the flower shapes, and the mountains were folded fabric with the “snow peaks” painted in. The kites were made with balsa wood, thread and tissue paper while the kite string was actually made of wire, so that it would hold its form. The animals were little yard sculptures Kretschmer found at a prop house. The trees were made of plywood, chicken wire and Epson prints of bark, and so on. There was, admittedly, a little Photoshop tweaking (note the wine in the wine glasses in the top shot: the lawn is actually a wall with glasses mounted to it, so liquid was added in later).
Once again, Kretschmer seems to have made the act of photography just as fun as the art of it!
To read my behind-the-scenes profile of Hugh for PopPhoto.com, check out “Hugh Kretschmer Revealed.”
To see my interview with Hugh for Graphis, check out my writing samples page.