Élan by Christy Lee Rogers

Fantome Du Coeur, archival pigment print, cotton paper, 105 x 152 cm, courtesy of the artist and Lazarides Gallery

US artist Christy Lee Rogers grew up by the sea in Hawaii, so perhaps it’s only natural that she chooses to work in water. With their sensual rendering of flesh, use of bright colours and dramatic lighting effects, Rogers’s photographs are most obviously reminiscent of Baroque art. Shot at night, no digital trickery is used in their making. “I love what I get naturally and don’t want to alter my expression in Photoshop. My intention is to create something magical that could exist, not something that I feel people will think is fake or false,” says Rogers. “I want people to know that what they see is possible and for them to connect with it because of that.

“Every shot is an experiment and sometimes you get something unexpected, like the wind blowing across the water, which produces a fantastic effect. Even the moon can change the lighting in beautiful ways. I keep notebooks with thousands of ideas. During the initial idea phase, there’s usually a feeling of overwhelm because the collection must be profound in my mind and very precise. After coming to a decision on my direction for the new work, I’ll book a ticket to Hawaii. When that moment arrives, I’ve already been conceptualizing the shots in my mind for about four or five months.

“Water can become quite chaotic, especially with choreographing many subjects together, so we practise one by one. I teach each person my style and how to position themselves in relation to me and in relation to the lights. There are key points that they have to practise and hopefully master. Posing is not something that I feel works for real expression so I have my subjects stay in constant movement.” 

Her new collection, Élan, draws inspiration from the 1920s Parisian circus and the romantic wonder of the Moulin Rouge. The extravagant scenes, captured during a shoot in Las Vegas, benefited from the participation of some of the world’s premiere performance artists: dance masters, synchronized swimmers, aerialists, pole dancers and actors.

Élan is on show at The Outsiders until 19 July.

The Outsiders, 8 Greek Street, London W1

Images courtesy of the artist and Lazarides.

Liked this article?
We've got more for you

Sign up to our newsletter for weekly updates. Or view the archive.