Sydney-based artist Catherine Nelson refers to herself as a painter with a camera, in that she doesn’t see the world as a photographer does but instead uses photos as a medium with which she creates these fantastic miniature worlds. Each work is comprised of hundreds of photographs which she digitally stitches together, drawing from an extensive background in visual special effects having worked on such films as Moulin Rouge, Harry Potter and 300. Of her work Nelson says:
When I embraced the medium of photography, I felt that taking a picture that represented only what was within the frame of the lens wasn’t expressing my personal and inner experience of the world around me. With the eye and training of a painter and with years of experience behind me in film visual effects, I began to take my photos to another level. The ‘Future Memories’ series comprises of 20 floating worlds, meticulously composed with thousands of assembled details. Visual poetry, nature photography and digital techniques blend together to give shape to these transcendental landscapes. The result is a contemporary pictorial mythology that subtly reminds the viewer of a profound truth: that it is in the flourishing variety of the local that the fate of the world resides.
Although the pieces are quite gorgeous to look at right here on Colossal, it’s hard to convey the resolution and scale of each piece which measures about 40×40″ (100x100cm), a level of detail that requires Nelson to spend nearly a month on each piece. It was my assumption based on the perspective and detail that some of these works must be somehow partially rendered in 3D, however she assured me via email that this is not the case. Though she uses digital editing to assemble them, they are almost purely based in photography. Incredible.
Nelson had several pieces on display earlier this month at fotofever in Brussels and will have work later this year at Gallery NOW in Seoul and at CONTEXT in Miami. You can see much more of her work at Galerie Paris-Beijing.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, apply for our annual grant, and get exclusive access to interviews, partner discounts, and event tickets.