Alchemy: the magical process of transmuting a common substance into a substance of great value.
In Michel Leroy’s new series Alchemy, dark shimmering forms dance throughout each frame, every photo more graceful and enticing than the next. The nude figures in the photographs look sculptural, carved out of dark stone like the art of the Ancient Greeks. The skin shimmers and the body twists into forms that are almost abstract in nature. This series is truly unique and different from the clean, white studio shots Leroy is known for.
To create the shimmering, uniform texture of the skin in the Alchemy series, Michel Leroy does it all in-camera that he has developed over years of experimentation, without the use of oils, makeup, or any unusual lighting. In his artist statement, he refers to this method as “reminiscent of a Daguerreotype in the pixel age”.
Michel Leroy’s photographic endeavors usually include taking pictures of athletes and musicians. He has a unique talent for capturing the personality of his subject within the intricacies of their expression, form, and pose. Some of his clients include The Food Network, Adidas, Nike, Intel, and L’Oreal. He has appeared in publications such as The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and People Magazine, to name a few. Regardless of his impressive CV, the photographer wanted to challenge himself to create something that he’s never done before and break out of his comfort zone.
His idea behind these images was to “create body-postive images that are exaggerated and explicit without sexual objectification. The images are a celebration of athletic confidence and vitality at its most pure” (Quote from Leroy’s artist statement). Every body photographed in this series is vastly different, but through the unique method of photographing them, they are visually united. Though his models were various, Leroy’s images remind us that every human being is beautiful in their own way, regardless of superficial outward appearance and perception.
When I spoke to Leroy, he informed me that he had been keeping this project a secret for a few years, preferring to take his time perfecting his method before showing the work. Now that the project is completed, he’ll be exhibiting the work from January 25th – April 25th 2018 at The Wall at Body and Pole. More info on the exhibition can be found here.
The opening reception is on Thursday, January 25th, from 8-10 pm at The Wall at Body and Pole, which is located at 115 West 27th Street, New York, NY. Check out more of Michel Leroy’s work here.