Friday, February 17, 2006

What Good Technology Can Do

10 years ago, we were only beginning to discover how digital animation techniques and photography would change what we saw. Now not a day goes by when we see something that make us go, "Wow! I can't believe you can do that!" Harri Kallio is an Finnish artist/photographer who became fascinated with the dodo after reading Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. He tried to imagine what the bird might have looked like in its natural habitat had it survived extinction over 150 years ago. So Kallio went about designing and re-creating models of this strange bird (I THINK it was a bird...) so that he could eventually re-create sets of the birds in what appeared to be their natural habitat.

What Kallio has done in itself is a remarkable piece of work. But I believe the more significant accomplishment is in the process itself. Researching the dodo and then taking that information to build his models and place them in what appears to be their natural habitat so that he could shoot realistic-looking photographs would be a remarkable achievement alone. However, I think that Kallio may have single-handedly taken digital photography to a new high and I hope that it sparks other photographers/artists to explore it further in this direction. In this day-and-age of digital animation and special effects, the true art of still images seemed destined to have been relegated to the Twentieth Century.

Kallio will be showing his Dodo series at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York City through April 1. You can read a more extensive overview of his research and approach to developing this incredible breakthrough in photographic work on Slate here. They've also posted a slideshow of his photos here. (It should pop up in its own window.)

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