Sunday, August 30, 2015

Stephan Tobias: Enchanted Forest

'All forests are one... They are all echoes of the first forest that gave birth to Mystery when the world began.'

For most kids, mysterious and enchanting perfectly describe their feelings about forests. Most of us were first educated about forests through books and nursery rhymes. Worlds filled with giants and witches, hobbits, dragons and magic. We got to know so many animals, Tigger and Pooh, Rupert the bear and those three other bears with Goldilocks. I think one of my favorite trips into the forest as a kid was the introduction of Mr. Tumnus in The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Most of us have our own memories of summers in the forest. For me, it was venturing into spaces unknown while on camping trips with my family. Usually I had a towel wrapped around my neck, a hero's cape which protected me as I dashed through the forest jumping over logs and onto rocks following the lead that only my imagination could direct. It is through this enchanted lens that model and artist Stephan Tobias takes us into his own, personal and artistic enchanted forest.

I first introduced FH readers to Stephan's work last December with Opening A Tiny Window. Stephan has a passion for digital manipulation, a subject and technique he is aware can be a bit controversial, and not loved by all. For this series of shots, Stephen was the model and editor, the original images themselves were taken by photographer Pedro Arnay.

Pedro Arnay is a professional photographer from Madrid. With a Latin American background, he has specialised in taking pictures of ballet. Pedro contacted Stephan through Model Mayhem prior to planning a trip to Berlin. Pedro's idea was to shoot Stephan surrounded by the forest so when he and Stephan met up in Berlin, they went for a long walk through Grunewald Forest, not far from Stephan's apartment in the green South western part of Berlin. Pedro had agreed before hand to allow Stephan to use the images his own kind of artistic alterations.

'Although the images were fantastic on their own, I stil somehow felt it necessary to alter some by more or less subtly stretching the background. I have been working with this effect a lot recently, and still like it as it gives the pictures a bit of a subtle surrealistic effect. As there was enough material I decided to create a bigger series under the title "Enchanted Forest' that are featured here.'

'I have in mind to create another series based on these pictures with much further reching alterations. And if I can do it why not invite others to do the same. In the worst case I just will not have any cooperation, in the best case some interesting new pictures, hopefully with alterations I could not imagine myself. The digital world is about autism, but dialogue too. If and to what extent such digital manipulation is legitimate is a hot topic. I am in no way dogmatic about it. Some of my pictures are not digitally altered at all, some of them are distorted already at the moment of exposure, some of them are slightly improved, some are totally changed.'

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