• Andrada Mihailescu

*Retro pixies live in bubbles*

Updated: Apr 16



What’s the first thought that springs into mind when looking at this photograph? Made in Photoshop. The textures match, the grain is even and there isn’t a hint of extra shadows or uneven lines in sight. A very well manipulated image, one might say. Good retouching skills are needed when creating such an illusory perspective. However, there’s a tiny detail which should be added to the mix. Adobe Photoshop was created in 1988 and the photograph displayed above was taken 25 years earlier. The creative arts have undergone a complex process of metamorphosis through the years. This battlefield could easily be described as depictions of the future produced in an earlier era as well as a collision between old and new.


One of the masterminds of the 60's is Melvin Sokolsky. He is also the author of this mind blowing series. He created the body of work for Harper’s Bazaar spring issue. The main source of inspiration for the photographs is Hieronymus Bosch’s painting, entitled The Garden of Earthy Delight.



The trigger is represented by the bubble which appears to provide shelter for two nude people. Sokolsky focused on the idea of *a human in a bubble* and took it to the next level. He asked model Simone D’Aillencourt to pose for him, whilst being enclosed in a sphere made of plexiglass. What followed next was a journey through one of the main fashion capitals of all time, Paris. When it was all sorted, model check, clothes check, bubble sorted, there was one part of the story left to be written. Regarding the technical aspects of the project, the artist used an innovative recipe in order to get the gravity defying outcome. The main ingredients are as follows: a metal crane, a sphere made of plexiglass , attached to the crane using an eight-inch aircraft cable and the courage to follow one’s imagination.



Sokolsky's images speak for themselves. The blend of retro style and futuristic technology could be translated as retro clothing worn by a model in a floating bubble. In addition to this, the idea of tension between past and future is depicted in the photographs by the cable which was used to suspend the glass sphere in different locations. Laws of physics were put to the test before taking the photos, to ensure the safety of the model. The strings that held the bubble in place are completely invisible. This effect was achieved by the photographer in two ways: removing the cable trough the dodge/burn technique and framing/cropping the photo in such a way so that the wire would not appear in the frame, thus creating a dynamic view.



The *Bubble Girl* series was based on a dream and turned into reality even if it sometimes seemed impossible to realise. The artist followed his intuition and make the winning choices. Melvin Sokolsky told Paul Gachot during an interview that he felt like he had lived in another time and had made those things before they had already happened. Who knows, maybe he was living in a time capsule and the bubble project was his ticket to the future.



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