Córdova Canillas are 21st Century magazine masters, and although we’re more than familiar with its editorial design (they design Vein, Fucking Young! and Fuet), the latest issue of Tunica shows the studio’s capabilities stretching to provide creative direction for photography too.
As each issue of Tunica is designed by a different person and Córdova Canillas have already had their turn, for issue six the design reigns were handed over to Mirko Borsche. Instead, the Spanish-based studio were given 16 pages, “to fill with whatever content we desire”.
Córdova Canillas used the magazine spreads to try an experiment in “collaboration with two photographers we greatly admire,” they explain. Inspired by its own magazine, Morena, the studio looked to the early Italian renaissance, but “instead of the subject being the worship of the Holy Spirit, it will be the worship of human anatomy, particularly the female anatomy”.
The process begun by briefing the two chosen photographers, Julien Pounchou and Kiwi Bravo, who would be given the same task but encouraged to produce different iterations. The studio chose eight paintings based on Venus, chosen as a protagonist representing “the goddess of beauty, of love”.
The studio looked into the photographer’s portfolios, picking them for their different capabilities and asking them to eventuate them. “This is not about re-creating the painting, this is about using the classical pose of Venus to create a recognisable image,” states the brief. “The rules are simple. We want you to capture the exact pose, proportion and expression of each Venus using your photographic style.” Julien for instance, a photographer “used to taking pictures of naked women, creating a natural and comfortable atmosphere between you and the model, but you are not used to shooting still life,” was briefed to “copy the exact position of each Venus painting we have chosen”. Whereas Kiwi is “really used to shooting objects,” but “not used to taking pictures of women, even less so when they are nude”.
The results from the same brief are similar but when placed together, as they are arranged in the magazine, read like a spot the difference illusion. “On first sight, it has to be clear the photos were inspired by classical paintings, it needs to be obvious both photos have the same composition but it also needs to be a representation of your work,” the studio explains.
By using the same models reenacting the same poses answers Córdova Canillas’ brief immediately but the use of location, set design and slight differences in posing allows the photographer’s places emphasis on the photographer’s “individuality as an artist,” which was always “the main roll in this project”.
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