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Nothing's What It Seems in These Photo-Cutout Collages

Where does the human form end. Where does reality begin? Bill Durgin’s photos probe the space in between.
All images courtesy the artist

Two female figures perch on a boxy platform, their faces discernibly missing and replaced with blank slates of color. Gradually, their complete forms turn into an abstract illusion as it becomes apparent these figures may be more contextual design than actual human subject. The mind-boggling result is the work of Bill Durgin, an artist who specializes in crafting artwork depicting the human body. As a boy, Durgin developed an interest in photography, experimenting with photograms in his mother's darkroom. His works are associated with the historical idea of staging and creating the photographs, as well as utilizing the physical studio. The artist’s refined images effectively manipulate space itself to create new layers of reality in his photos.


Their intimate settings create another interesting element: by combining an abstract element with essentially the enduring art of figure illustration, two realms meet, and the results are fascinating. His series, Figure Ground, draws upon a tenant of gestalt theory, choosing to focusing on the principle “that a figure is perceived through its distinction from the background,” Durgin describes in an artist statement. He continues, “Several images from a single shoot are layered and systematically erased to blur the boundary between […] challenging ideas of perception and image consumption. In this age of seamlessly altered and composite images, Figure Ground brings the idea of image composite the forefront, making the act of alteration the figure itself.”

We're not to blame if you experience slight visual hallucinations in Bill Durgin’s photos:

To see more from Bill Durgin, visit his website, here, and his Instagram, here.


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