May 15th, 2013

For this month's Design issue, Zink Magazine invited New York based Mill+ Designer Ariane Irle to collaborate with photographer Manfredi Gioacchini. Together they worked on a series of six original images with an open thematic. The project re-purposes selected photographs from Manfredi's series "Raw", which showcases a bold "truthful" approach where the only medium between the image and the subject is photography. This results in a series of un-retouched images. Here Ariane explains, for the first time, how the stunning partnership came about…

After Manfredi and I discussed the various subject matters that we wanted to focus on and techniques we wanted to work with, we decided to use surrealist imagery as a reference, alongside contemporary cutout and collage mediums. From here we came up with the idea of using silhouettes as a means to juxtapose two points of view onto one image. This allowed various interplays between positive and negative space, and scale and placements.

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Practically speaking, Manfredi gave me his original photographs and I brought them to life using this new thematic and approach. The process involved a little bit of experimentation and a few different steps, going back and forward from digital to analogue. Part of the challenge was to find photographs that would work best and making each of them stand out in radically new and interesting ways.

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I created most of the sketches from experimenting with images that I photocopied and cut out. Silhouettes and negative space wasn't as obvious for each image, so my results were quite unexpected. From the start, the idea was to create an actual collage and re-photograph it. This meant all of the imagery would belong to the same world, as well as the process adding slight depth and shadows onto the final image. Since I was using juxtaposing photographs, it made sense for each layer to be on separate sheets. After locking out the composition, I prepped and printed each photograph to recreate the montage, basically making a physical layer for each part and spacing each of them on different levels. In the end, we photographed the montages and I reworked the colors digitally, bringing blue tints in and drifting away from fleshy tones to night-like colors.

Thanks Ariane for this insight into a fascinating project. To see the collaboration in full you can subscribe to Zink magazine here.