The model Coco Rocha has been called the “Queen of the Pose” and if you were unsure if anyone could truly ever earn that title, then you should take a look at Steven Sebring’s new project, Study of Pose: 1000 Poses by Coco Rocha. Creating a rig of 100 Canon Rebel cameras, Sebring captured 100,000 unique images of Coco as she moved through 1,000 poses and used that data to create models for production on a 3D printer. The stark black and white images are a marvel, a celebration of the possibilities inherent in the human body. While the poses she strikes are difficult, they are not the result of contortion but rather an exquisite and highly refined sense of control over the body.
The model, dressed in a white leotard/body suit is illuminated like the moon in a dark sky; nearly brilliant on one side, and falling quickly off into black, creating a unique contrast between two-dimensional outline and three-dimensional modeling. The tension between surface and form is so tightly constructed that it nearly vibrates.
The three-dimensional nature of Rocha’s poses is offered to the viewer for exploration in a variety of ways. The exhibit itself, located at the Milk Gallery in New York, features a table of iPads that support interaction with an iOS app created for Study of Pose. In addition, projected larger than life is a floor-to-ceiling television screen installation that shows the images of Rocha in a stunning version of the stop motion film genre. For those who can’t make the exhibit, you can explore the poses online.
There are works of art created using the Study of Pose images as inspiration and, of course, 3D prints of Coco’s poses (which sounds like an excellent name for an Indie rock band.) In all, 500 prints were made of the poses, in collaboration with Shapeways. The 3D prints were possible because of the enormous amount of data captured by the camera rig. Rather than having a 3D scanner to capture the data, the circle of cameras Sebring assembled acted the part.
Finally, a book has been produced containing the complete set of 1,000 poses, each of which sits neatly on top of the pure black of the page background and is faced with a white page that simply gives the number of the pose in the lower left hand corner. In a sense, the project is an exploration of both minimalism and maximalism. The images themselves are pared down, but the sheer number of them is mind-boggling. Rocha’s body is smoothed and simplified by the white body suit but her control over each fiber of her being means that no part can be overlooked. The images are static but the co-creation of an app allowing for 360° interaction, the 3D printed figurines, the stop motion film, the inspired art…it creates an entire universe of possibilities.
The images convey glamour simply in their medium, stark black and white being associated so strongly with artist photographers such as Brandt, Brassai, and Steichen. The figurines, made of plastic — a material so often used for the creation of cheap, mass-produced items — here are the result of cutting-edge technology and high-art.
Sebring’s work is reminiscent of the motion studies produced by Eadweard Muybridge and in his time with Rocha, he pulled from the distant past to the near present for pose inspiration, as he explained in the introduction to the book:
“When Coco poses, there is a story being told with every gesture. To me, that’s story telling at its most basic and beautiful. We covered all the classic poses from art history, and then moved into iconic poses from fashion and film. We also covered all manners of dance movement, from ballet to Elvis and everything in between.”
This type of project will most likely inspire not just imitation but innovation as artists continue to explore the relationships between past and present, digital and physical, and body and mind; sometimes discovering that the distance between those binaries isn’t nearly as great as they had supposed.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this creative 3D printed form of art, in the Coco Rocha forum thread on 3DPB.com.