Save for the Fit exhibition of graphic design posters at Central Saint Martins, we’ve seen surprisingly few Olympics-inspired creative projects outside client-commissioned work this year. Certainly the most impressive is Monument, a collaboration between photographer John Ross and creative studio Rosie Lee.
The two worked together on a previous project, Into The Fray, coinciding with last year’s Rugby World Cup (which was featured on the CR Blog). Monument was derived from another Ross personal project, Impressions, in which he photographed the marks left in beds of flour by models (the project was featured in a promotional piece by SEA Design for the GF Smith paper company). Earlier this year, Ross approached Rosie Lee to see if they would be interested in creating a series of sporting images using the same process.
Rosie Lee creative director Mark Fleming explains how the images are made: “Imagine a 15 foot square trough full of fine grade flour. The athletes had to shimmy into position and drop into it, then get out without disturbing the image.” A ceiling-mounted camera looked down on the trough while scaffolding poles helped the athletes get in and out of position. “They lowered themselves in mid-section first, then we adjusted their feet and hands,” Fleming reveals. The poles were then slid away to take the shot. Getting out again was just as tricky.
The impressions left in the flour, with the aid of some clever lighting, create an optical illusion so that what are actually impressions in the surface of the flour appear in relief. The fine grade of the flour reveals an amazing level of detail – the stitching on shoes, even stubble is visible in the final pictures. Rosie Lee have plans to exhibit the final set of ten images featuring various Olympic sports in the reception of their London studio as well as making a book of the images. The full set will be included in the August issue of the CR iPad app.