This article contains adult content.
All images courtesy the artist
We’re so spoiled by Earth’s natural splendor that many of us take it for granted—a bit ill-advised in this era of devastating climate change. But all around us is a sort of alien beauty that scales from the microscopic to the monumental. Like the Ukrainian duo SYNCHRODOGS, who trek out into Earth’s landscapes to photograph humans in our naked, natural state, photographer Senen Llanos is after this planet’s alien awe. The self-taught, San Juan-based photographer recently explored this ecstatic beauty in his series The Pretty Martian Women, in which Puerto Rico’s natural landscapes are paired with the feminine form painted in bright, colorful abstractions.
Llanos tells The Creators Project that one day, after experimenting with body paint on subjects set outdoors, he produced an “extraterrestrial sentiment” in his mind, and thought of Mars. Not the barren planet we know, but a Mars-like terrain “inhabited by a stunning colorful Martian.” This initial germ of an idea eventually evolved into The Pretty Martian Women, which explores vibrantly-colored bodies set against lush, rocky and liquid landscapes.
As Llanos explains on his website, he, his wife Camille, and a team of volunteers and models went on early morning missions to capture “otherworldly environments.”
“As the series evolved, I focused on the perspective of voyeuristic explorers (astronauts),” Llanos explains. “Imagining as they observed these exotic creatures celebrating life, seeing the numerous colors of their skin swirling and shifting while they made love. Every shoot was an expedition full of adventure and unexpected challenges.”
Shot exclusively in Puerto Rico over the course of a year, Llanos and his team held shoots on nude beaches, in rivers near city centers, and on private farms. At one point, an “expedition” of people stumbled upon their set, tip-toeing around it in disbelief.
“The paint is water-based tempera (kids paint)—I made sure it was nothing that could damage the environment,” Llanos tells The Creators Project. “My camera for most of these is a Sony A6000 with a 24mm 1.8 and a 55mm 1.8 lens. I keep editing as minimal as possible, [as] I like to get as much as I can right on the camera.”
“This series is the realization of a dream,” Llanos says. “I use paint, beautiful women and shoot in nature to study their sexuality in nature and visualize them as creatures from another world.”
For more of Senen Llanos’ work, click here.