Sunday, May 17, 2015


Many photographic topics are quite difficult to do if one tries to find a different approach, something that has not been done by other photographers before.  That is especially the case with fine art nude photography.  The nude has always been a very popular theme of the arts, including photography.  Regardless of how one approaches the subject, it probably has been done in one form or another before.

I had been looking for such a different approach for a long time, and finally decided to use Photoshop to reach that goal.  The result is “Photosculptures,” where I use photographs of sculptures and combine them with photographs I have taken of models.

That might not appear to be particularly difficult.  After all, Photoshop is used to alter images in just about any imaginary way.  However, Photosculptures require a lot more than just replacing part of the sculpture with a photograph of a different person.  It is important that the pose of the model and the lighting coincide with that of the sculpture, however, it is not my intention to produce a perfect copy of the original.  Then the two images have to be carefully matched in size.  Finally, the transferred image has to be modified to match the color and texture of the sculpture.  All of this is not an easy process, and it is very time consuming.  But the end results can be quite rewarding.

This is the most difficult sculpture I modified,
because it consists of three different individuals.

The original, raw images of the three models, all taken with Leica equipment.

The original photograph of the three models required considerable modifications.  All had to be right and left reversed.  Then all three had to be matched in size to the size of the sculpture.  In addition, the posing angle of the models was altered to match that of the sculpture. Then, after masking off the background, the images of each model were transferred to the photograph of the sculpture.  Then each model was altered to match the white marble of the sculpture.  That included lowering the contrast of the facial features and the hair to again match the sculpture.

The finished Photosculpture

      Original                                                                       Photosculpture

The original is a photograph of the Rolls Royce hood ornament.  Since the pose of the model was not identical to that of the sculpture, it required considerable modification of the hair flowing in the wind.

       Original                                                                       Photoscupture

       Original                                                                       Photosculpture

The two examples above required little modification since the poses of the models was close to that of the sculpture.

      Original                                                                        Photosculpture

This example required a considerable amount of work.  While the poses are quite similar, the arms did not look right at all.  It required to remove the hand on the arm of the male which, in turn, required the arm of the male in the Photosculpture to be lengthened.  In addition, marble texture and color was added to the Photosculpture.

        Original                                                                     Photosculpture

Even though the pose of the original and the model are quite similar, this example required a considerable amount of detail work.  The upper arm of the model had to be lengthened to match up with that of the original sculpture.  The wing of the swan had to be lengthened a lot to bridge the void that otherwise showed in front of the model’s face.  In addition the head of the swan needed to be moved further from the neck.  Since the position of the left arm of the sculpture and the model are quite different, a fair amount of reconstructive work was necessary to cover the arm of the original sculpture.

         Original                                                                   Photosculpture

This example was relatively easy to convert.  However, the strong lighting of the original required close attention to the lighting of the model.

       Original                                                            Photosculpture

Original                                                                          Photosculpture

Accurate posing of the model definitely makes this kind of work considerably easier.  For that reason it is advisable to work with experienced models that are able to strike a great variety of poses and do it accurately once they see a sample of what pose is required.  I have worked with most of the models shown here on several occasions, with some of them even for several years.  That has created a very good working relationship which is also very helpful for this kind of work.

Since this is a relatively new venture for me, I would greatly appreciate any comments and critiques of this work.

Thank you,

Heinz Richter

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  1. This is a very interesting concept, bit it appears that a lot of photoshop work is required.

    1. That is correct. However, as I pointed out in the article, it was Photoshop that enabled me to come up with this different approach. This would be extremely difficult at best to do with conventional, non-Photoshop methods.