Igor Josifov and Michael Ryan Noble are performance artists that turned to photography to explore the vitality of art through media and concept. In the project, “dying artists: lost bodies,” the artists, Igor and Ryan, collaborated by switching roles between model and photographer in order to challenge traditional concepts of the role of an artist. Throughout the series, the artists also positioned their body in the form of a flat, inanimate object to parallel the properties of a photograph as a flat, inanimate object.
By attempting to reduce the life force of the artists and media involved in the project, the artists intended to discover what energies existed beyond the intentions of the artist and the spirit of the camera. Subject, object, process, context, and the natural environment were all collaborators in the project. Although the artist may discover a provoking composition, natural forces provide the light, textures, and movement. Beyond this, dynamics in the range, depth, and exposures within the camera’s mechanical processes often yield surprising results.
Throughout the project, the artists investigated three environments: an abandoned shed, an estuary, and a set of cliffs along the ocean. In each context, the inherent properties of the environment provided a unique and inherent energy that allows for a complex interpretation of the work; what appears to be stagnant in one moment appears to be serene in the next . . . then creepy . . . or overpowering.
Over the course of the project, the artists’ attempts to reduce the life force of the images were counteracted by the forces of nature. What was once intended to be an exploration of the absence of life—a simple study in composition and superficiality—was exposed by the ever-present reality and spirit of art in nature.