Gravity is never more perceptible than when an object falls and when this object is a human body, the visual expressiveness of the scene becomes even more dramatic. Photographs of the body falling probably all owes a lot to the one composed by Yves Klein jumping in the void of a Parisian street in 1960. Since then other photographers worked on this subject, more or less voluntarily as we will see.
The photographs of Kerry Skarbakka are very expressive in this matter. Although his body is always suspended, he indeed succeeds to translate the weight of the body in his literal meaning: the degree of attraction of the body towards the earth. The viewer can inexorably imagine the moment that comes next, the collision of the earth and the body, climax of the violence of gravity.
Denis Darzacq is observing a similar method but, for better of worse, tend to express a feeling of slow motion that add to the aesthetics of the image but reduce this very interesting attraction which subject the body. In D.Darzacq’s photographs, bodies seems to be suspended in the void for ever as if the notion of weight was not effective anymore.
Eventually, one last photographer, Richard Drew, somehow involuntarily revolutionized this photographic subject as he managed to photograph one of the most traumatic scenes from the September 11st 2001’s attack against the New York World Trade Center, a man who chose the void over the flames and fell for long seconds along the very linear facade of the towers. This photograph tackles a lot of problems in the definition of art and its limits; nevertheless, it expresses the subjectivization of the body to gravity like no other work and provoke an intense emotion to the viewer who cannot not identify to this body and associate to it the context in which it has been photographed.
Sept 15th Add-on: The Huffington Post just released an article about a beautiful video filming base jumpers…it seemed appropriate to add it here.
Read the first sequel to this chapter published on September 26th 2011.
Read the second sequel to this chapter published on December 6th 2011
Read the third sequel to this chapter published on January 3rd 2012
All the concerned photographs are to be seen after the break: