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Elise: Untitled (detail)

Work / Set Design

Photographer Elise creates sculptures so impressive they don’t even look real

All too often these days we stumble across a jaw-dropping example of set design, only to discover the impressive final image is actually the result of some clever visual trickery and digital manipulation. That’s an impressive art unto itself, don’t get me wrong, but pure CGI can leave me feeling a little shortchanged.

The mysteriously-named Elise is an artist who describes herself as working “at the intersection of sculpture, installation and photography” who has harnessed exactly this ambiguity, bravely creating stunning images which appear on first glance to have been made on Photoshop, such is their scale and intricacy. To our delight though, these constructions are entirely real, made using good old-fashioned sweat and string and PVA and rendered in camera.

She explains: “I deliberately make my installations so highly complex the resulting photographs often appear to the viewer to be almost unreal. I also like to use unlikely materials and intricate constructions that appear as though they’re only held for a moment in their current form by the capture of the lens, and object arrangements that are so highly graphic in appearance that they seem artificial. 

“Through this process, I try to push the work away from a a straightforward interpretation, and to explore what it means to take, or make a photograph in our era of CGI and computer manipulation.”

It takes some creative chutzpah to make work so advanced that it almost doesn’t look real, so we tip our hats to Elise. Check out her Twitter page for more behind-the-scenes photographs, including one of 75,000 blue rose petals affixed to a wall, and some incredible feats using balloons and string.

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Elise: Untitled

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Elise: Untitled (Behind the Scenes)

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Elise: Untitled (Behind the Scenes)

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Elise: Untitled (Behind the Scenes)

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Elise: Untitled (Behind the Scenes)