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“Transfiguration”: New photo project

Shakirudeen (Bonetics) & Leilani Franco

Update: ‘Transfiguration’ Exhibitions at the Roundhouse & theprintspace (London / April 2016)

Transfiguration” features renowned international contemporary circus artists and dancers. The project showcases their unique physicality and explores the spirit of the performer.
Like a mask, layers of body paint and powder disguise the identity of the subject, and release something animalistic from within.
In the final images a sculpted, abstract, less human figure emerges.

The first photo shoot with dancer Alejandra Baño dates back to November 2012. That shoot was an experiment but something happened there.
A little more than 2 years later I am very excited to share with you the first batch of images from my new project “Transfiguration“.
For this project I decided to work with circus artists and dancers for their physical appearance and capabilities.
The list includes international acclaimed performers and graduates of the world’s leading circus schools, École nationale de cirque (Montreal, Canada), CNAC; Centre national des arts du cirque (Châlons-en-Champagne, France) and National Centre for Circus Arts (London, UK).

List of participators so far (in alphabetical order):
Alejandra Baño
Garance Hubert-Samson
Guillaume Blais
Hauk Pattison
Jonathan Fortin
Kaner Flex
Lauren Taylor
Leilani Franco
Luca Chiarva
Lucie Roux
Sasha Flexy
Shakirudeen “Bonetics”
Yammel Rodriguez

Selected press & write-ups:
The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Bloglovin’ViralNovaBored PandaDesign You TrustJuxtapoz MagazineBeautiful/DecayEverythingWithATwistModernism.

Selected quotes:
Photographer Ben Hopper‘s “Transfiguration” project transforms his subjects into living sculptures. Each photo is charged with kinetic energy, only heightened by the bold streaks of body paint and splatters of white powder.
Some of the photographs look like cubist paintings because of the contrast between black, white, and human flesh along with the seemingly impossible angles and feats of flexibility performed by the subjects. The body paint looks almost like strokes of charcoal, creating depth while also the illusion of two-dimensionality.” – Beautiful/Decay

Hopper challenges art through his photography by engaging bodies, faces and people in general within his settings.” – EverythingWithATwist

…more like 3D Jackson Pollock paintings or John Chamberlain sculptures than human beings.” – The Huffington Post

The project is still going and there’s more work that I will release later on.
Photographed with Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Limited edition prints of “Transfiguration” are available for purchase.

For print purchases / press inquiries please contact me directly on: therealbenhopper@gmail.com
View project on my main website.
View project on my Facebook page.

Thank you: Mamiya Leaf, Peartree PhotoEscapade Fancy Dress (for the body paint)

Shakirudeen (Bonetics) & Leilani Franco

Shakirudeen (Bonetics)

Shakirudeen (Bonetics)

Shakirudeen (Bonetics)

Jonathan Fortin

Jonathan Fortin

Jonathan Fortin

Jonathan Fortin

Jonathan Fortin

Alejandra Baño

Alejandra Baño

Alejandra Baño

Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor

Luca Chiarva & Yammel Rodriguez

Luca Chiarva & Yammel Rodriguez

Luca Chiarva & Yammel Rodriguez

Guillaume Blais

Guillaume Blais

Guillaume Blais

Guillaume Blais

Garance Hubert-Samson & Lucie Roux

Garance Hubert-Samson & Lucie Roux

Hauk Pattison

Hauk Pattison & Sasha Flexy

Hauk Pattison & Sasha Flexy

Hauk Pattison & Sasha Flexy

Hauk Pattison & Sasha Flexy

Kaner Flex

Kaner Flex

Kaner Flex

Kaner Flex

Kaner Flex

Comments (48)
  1. Heather January 8, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I think this is amazing!! So unique….

  2. Martin O'Connor January 8, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    hi Ben, I have been an admirer of your work for a while..I’m a painter and there are similarities between your work and mine , especially in terms of subject matter. I like the animalistic or atavistic quality in your work. And I have this plan too of involving dancers to interpret the work….I have a feeling I might end up with something like of your fantastic “Transfiguration” series.

  3. Danielle St. Pierre January 9, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    I am so inspired by these photographs!!! BRAVA!!!! This is such a beautiful concept. Thank you for sharing your art. 🙂

  4. Louis Mora January 9, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    wonderful imagination .

  5. Ian Grandjean January 10, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    One word – inspiring. Excellent work my friend.

  6. Concerned January 11, 2015 at 6:07 am

    “Like a mask, the layers of body paint and powder disguise the identity and release something animalistic from within.
    It also creates a sculptor / painting looking figure, more abstract and less human”

    The fact that you use body paint to ultimately give all or most of the dancers a darker skin color and then you putting it in the context of “animalistic” and “less human” is problematic. This notion that darker skin color and even “tribalistic” aesthetics as comparative to non-human animals is racism. I hope you use this information to better your approach to your artistic practice as I see that you do indeed have interesting and quite skilled projects.

    • benhopper January 11, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      hello my friend. the tone / colour of the body paint has nothing to with what you’re talking about. has nothing to do with race or colour of skin.
      it’s to do with something we all have inside, regardless of skin colour, race, religion, nationality and so on.
      more comments on: https://www.facebook.com/THEREALBenHopper/posts/10152983445696462

    • Joe Motion January 11, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      In my opinion, what is problematic is your attitude that there is a racist context here, which there clearly isn’t.

      Perhaps look at your own perceptions. It appears that you have assumed that all the models are white for a start. Ben has basically stated that similar to wearing a mask, the adornment of body paint allows the individual to be somewhat freed from their own identity, or be recognised as their usual self by others. In my extensive personal experience as a professional performer (often wearing masks and/or body paint of various shades of colour and tone), this has the potential to allow more instinctive, perhaps repressed physicality to emerge; a re-awakening of our true inner animal. The aesthetic and poses of the models here create the illusion that they are sculptures or paintings rather than actual people that have been photographed. It seems like you have either misunderstood (or are twisting) the term ‘less human’ – to mean something derogatory and demeaning, when it is not intended that way at all. This is a celebration of the physicality of various beautifully decorated human animals.

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  8. Kelly Vetter January 11, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    While I am most aware that racist sadly still lingers in many visual depictions of man, I do not read a racist undertone from this statement or project at all, by breaking down the skin via pigment and texture to achieve pattern on the flesh, which, save for freckles, humans do not have…but many animal species do, is more to the point. The pigment, in concert with the contortions the models acjieve, lends a sinuous primal, yes animallike effect. We have to be mindful to reserve that word “racist” for when it truly applies and not be so guarded that anytime the flesh is canvas there is a psychological negativity to it.

  9. Srb January 11, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Some stunning shots – beautiful

  10. Nayara January 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Brilliant work and pictures! So inspiring start my week with this! I love the idea of showing human body from others shapes like that, remind me how different we are between each other or how similar we can be if you forget details. Congrats

  11. jane January 12, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Beautiful work. Sculptural and visceral. I love that the body paint obliterates many signifiers of race and sex, deminishing external difference and revealing something of the inner being. Nicely done.

  12. laura January 12, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    These are incredible, so beautiful and so fierce.

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  14. Pedro Guerra January 15, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Hy, man!
    Awesome work!
    Are they for sale?
    How can i get one copy of these?
    Is is possible?
    Thanks!

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  22. Faye Scott January 24, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Hi! I love it!! If it’s alright I’m gonna use this as inspiration my art gcse ‘imagine’ exam piece!

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  26. Zachary Straub March 15, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Ben, I absolutely love your work. Keep it up man!

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  32. sasa March 31, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Beautiful work

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  34. Nick Jones February 6, 2016 at 10:38 am

    So amazing! I’m completely in love with these pictures. You’ve definitely created something unique and special Ben,
    Any way I can get my hands on one (Or a few!) of these? Would absolutely love to have a few at home!

    Again though, awesome work!

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