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Something Splashy

Luka Fineisen

Recently I photographed Luka Fineisen for the cover of a European magazine. She’s a hot new German artist whose work explores how art can exist in liquid and gas forms.

I like working with artists because they bring an interesting set of parameters to a shoot. With Luka I knew my portrait would need to show her and at the same time demonstrate how liquids or solids can be seen as art. It was a fun challenge.

Prior to the shoot Luka and I spoke everyday for 2 weeks, bouncing ideas off each other. We thought about using a fog machine in new ways. We talked about covering her in paint. In the end we decided on this concept: dripping a bucket of paint into her hand and capturing the moment in midair. Because artists create work with their hands, the concept had a double meaning. It seemed fitting. The magazine loved the creativity involved and that it represented Luka’s style.

Having the concept in mind was great but the execution of the shot was another matter. I used a high-speed camera to freeze the paint in midair. My assistant, who was dripping the paint, needed perfect aim. How the paint would splatter after hitting her hand was the great unknown. I knew if all went well I would only have a few attempts to make the shot. After four drips Luka ran out of clean clothes and the set was covered in paint.

The concept worked surprisingly well. Liquid appeared solid for a brief instant. My camera captured the moment permanently. The shutter speed was 1/8000 of a second. That’s all the time this picture existed. I had my cover shot.

A photo of the set is below.

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