Monday, April 18, 2016

Chris Mottalini

Chris Mottalini's photographic work has been widely commissioned and exhibited. His first book, After You Left/They Took It Apart, is an atmospheric final portrait of three demolished Modernist homes. Chris is a partially colorblind photographer that lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Statement: Secret Meaning 

Creative direction: Jeffrey W. Miller
Food styling: Julian Hensarling

Secret Meaning is a modern photographic interpretation of the religious and symbolic meanings embedded within 17th century still life paintings.

The project originally sprang from my fascination with Zuburon’s “Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose” (painted in 1633). The seemingly ordinary objects depicted in the painting actually contain significant religious meaning (allusions to the Holy Trinity and to the Virgin Mary). When the painting was x-rayed, several objects and layers were discovered hidden underneath. Learning of the existence of these hidden images and layers inspired me to make the photographs that comprise Secret Meaning.

In many classic still life paintings (Flemish, Spanish and Italian), fertility, wealth, death, the fall of man, the fleeting nature of earthly pleasures, decay, resurrection and vanity are all represented by such innocuous subjects as fruits and vegetables. Today, these multiple layers of meaning have become unfamiliar to us. Secret Meaning attempts to re-examine and modernize this practice.

One of the most elemental and classic “tricks” of photography, about which I have always felt a sense of wonder, is the double exposure. This technique still manages to fascinate me and is, by its very nature, indicative of the magic of the photographic process (due in part to the fact that you are always at least somewhat surprised by the final image). In using the multiple exposure technique to make many of the images in Secret Meaning, I hope to provide a new perspective on still life photography.

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