Since the 1980s, I have been fascinated by the use of bodies in photography. A photograph of a person inherently imposes a perspective and, usually, also provides a point of view, if not an attitude. As a photojournalist, I’ve found that the feeling that an image conveys can be altered completely by approaching my subject with a different sense of priorities.
I have thought often about the possibility of projecting my photographs onto a human body as if it were a canvas, thereby compelling the pictures I have shot before in some corner of the world to impose themselves and help me create an entirely new image. I’ve wondered, how do we perceive that new image? What buttons are pushed? In a way, photographing a person who is, in fact, the canvas behind a projected image allows me to enter a new realm of fantasy and surrealism, the possibilities limited only by the number of images ready to be projected and the feelings that arise when viewing them.
Eager to see what I could achieve, I began projecting images of flowers onto a group of dancers from a nearby college. The dancers were flexible with the look of their bodies and were all so graceful. They knew how to extend their figures to help create the canvas required to get the shots I thought might be possible.
Wanting to push the body-as-canvas idea even further, I bought a new digital projector. No longer limited to working only with my aging inventory of 35mm slides, I was free now to choose from a vast catalogue of digital photos and tens of thousands of scanned slides.
As I left behind flowers and the underwater world and started to experiment, I found the process of selecting the images to project exhilarating. Not only was I thrilled to revisit my old work and see it presented in a new way; I also was faced with the challenge of deciding where to go next.
I connected with two aerialist acrobats, their physical ability adding a whole new dimension to my work. To my delight, each successive set of photos took on more depth than the first.
Sometimes, bodies cause the original photograph I’m working with to become distorted; at other times, they are disguised by the projection, making unclear what and how many bodies the viewer is looking at. The visual effect is exciting for me, exactly the kind of mystery I love to play with.
About the Artist
Kit Kittle is an award-winning photographer and film director. His pictures often blur the boundary between photography and painting, demonstrating the photographer’s depth and nuance of witnessing, capturing, and evincing the inconsequent sublime.
A documentarian by trade and practice, Kit Kittle has traveled to India, Antarctica, and everywhere in between; as a result, his pictures illustrate and imbue meaning to things that might otherwise be out of reach.
Kit Kittle’s work has been exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and in numerous galleries in New York, Connecticut, and Florida. In 2016, he had a solo show, “Kit Kittle: Bubbles,” at Dakor in Greenwich, Connecticut, and was in a group show, “Flesh: Exercises Beyond Erotica,” at Voltz Clarke Gallery in New York City. In addition, he was selected for “Nothing New: First Annual TEFAF NY Dinner & Dialogue,” a salon reception in New York City featuring select contemporary artists.
Kit Kittle’s photographs also have been featured in numerous publications, including Time, Sports Illustrated, Travel & Leisure, and Smithsonian magazines, as well as The New York Times.
During his journey into the field of fine art photography, Kit Kittle has published three books: Roughnecks (Taylor Publishing, 1985) and its complementary series Drag Queens (2015) and Enlightenment (2014).
A native New Yorker, Kit Kittle now resides in Greenwich, Connecticut.