We see a lovely monarch butterfly, beautiful photographs of flowers… Then we look a little closer… and closer… there you see it! Each image is made up of hundreds of nude bodies that become a spectacularly different whole.
Cecelia Webber, the artist extraordinaire, was looking at the photograph of a human back one day and noticed that it looked like a petal. This led to further thoughts on how many people are uncomfortable with their bodies when they should be something to celebrate.
Bodies are wonderful and amazing pieces of mother nature’s work. Cecelia decided to experiment, using real people in poses and then turning the images into beautiful examples of flowers and butterflies.
Each flower or butterfly can have as many as 700 layered images each. Environmental Graffiti talked to Cecelia about her art and the work involved.
EG: First of course, what made you imagine using photographs of the nude body to make flowers and other images? A petal is one thing but a whole flower?
Cecelia Webber: I began creating my compositions after noticing that a photo I had taken of my back looked like a petal. From there, I became fascinated by the practice of trying to create organic imagery with greater and greater accuracy.
EG: How much did the computer programs helped in what had to be an exacting and time consuming process?
CW: Making the pieces is a time-consuming process and involves a great deal of experimentation. Using the programs makes it possible to create the pieces, but that being said, they still take a ton of work and imagination. Making the more complicated pieces can take a month or longer.
Each one of these visions has to be edited, cut, rotated and colored to make the finished product. Cecelia’s imagination allows her to bring out what she needs for each part of the picture, for example posing full length with red hair in the image of the orange flower below.
EG: If there is one thing you would like people to take away after seeing your work, what is it?
CW: I’d love for people to look at my photos and begin to see the beauty of the body. Many people worry about their bodies, and only see airbrushed images of other people’s bodies.
CW: I like for my photos to show all the things that are usually taken out (hair and freckles and wrinkles, etc). In the future, I’ll be working with imagery depicting people of all age ranges in my compositions.
In an interview for The Sun, Cecelia described part of the process and more of her thinking: “It can take a great deal of time to get the correct photograph and I often take over 50 photos of a single pose to bring what I see in my head into reality. But I hope to encourage people to think differently about their own bodies.”
Cecelia spent hours as a child searching for tiny fairy people in buildings and trees; now as an adult she has managed to capture her own fairy people – real people whose bodies can transform into spectacular images.
We asked if Cecelia had a different series planned for the future and if she would share some thoughts about it. She says she will be working on a series of sea creatures. That should be incredible! You can see more of Cecelia’s work on her website.
A special thank you to Cecelia Webber for allowing the use of her images and taking the time to speak with us.