Porous Pictures

By To the Planetarium

To the Planetarium is an based in Los Angeles. We’re proud to have developed the majority of our brand imagery with them since 2014. For issue three, we invited them to create a spread of original imagery and text to shed light on the complex thought and procedure behind their work.

In our most recent collaboration with Spinelli Kilcollin, we were tasked with representing their first foray into furniture: a majestic bronze dining table. In an effort to better understand the materials and forms at play in it, we visited the table several times. We also had the great pleasure of seeing the table at work while dining with Dwyer, Janvrin and Yves. When it came time to picture the table for the latest cover of .925, we had simply to capture the glow of the California sun as it bounced from the bronze tabletop and illuminated the faces of our friends.

Back in our studio, we staged the table, charged up the capacitors in our strobes, and added amber filters to these lights to warm their color. We then framed the shot in the view- finder of our Hasselblad 500 C/M, to which we mounted the Zeiss 80mm Planar T*. The rendering of the Planar is ideal for this type of image because it is particularly resistant to flare in backlit scenes such as this one, where our goal was to replicate the reflected sunlight we enjoyed while dining. Additionally, the 80mm focal length of this lens renders space with the same field of view as the human eye. In addition to commemorating a memorable evening with friends, the use of these optics for the cover of .925 to approximates what someone might see with their own eyes as they approach the new Spinelli Kilcollin dining table for the first time.

Through our many iterations of the shot, we dressed the table
with various objects to create a play between differences wherein seem- ingly unlike objects reveal themselves as similar. For example, the webbing of the melon’s tough surface rhymes with the network of scratches on the tabletop. Meanwhile the hard metalsof the Spinelli Kilcollin ring produce an almost moist inner radiance not unlike the delicious flesh inside the melon. The sliced loaf of bread reveals its porous interior. Bubbles of air are burst during the baking process forming the bread’s pores. We like to think of our pictures as porous. Each time we “bake” a new photograph, tiny bubbles burst, leaving space for the gaze to move in and out.

To the Planetarium originated with a conversation about the ecstatic trance produced by images and the possibility that this trance holds for collective experience. As the magic and aura of pictures grows further entangled with computers and digital cameras, the pictures themselves can appear cold and detached. At our studio in Chinatown, while looking up at the stars or down through the viewfinder, we strive to produce warmth and air in our images. We feel that a good picture, like any finely made thing, takes on a sheen—a sheen rubbed into it by the many careful hands that will it into existence.