If you think these weightless scenarios were created using photo-editing software, you’re mistaken. There’s more to these gravity defying images than meets the eye...
Perhaps it’s the industry’s increasing use of CGI and Photoshop that makes you cynical about the elaborate set up of these pictures when you first look at them. But look carefully and you will see that the effect of ‘weightless’ objects, people and liquid chocolate is created with carefully attached wires and cables.
The dynamic images are part of a campaign by Tokyo-based agency, NAM, for the Harbour City Chocolate Trail, which is a project for the Hong Kong Blood Cancer Foundation and "Love Life" charity.
Harbour City is one of the largest shopping malls in Hong Kong, located in the area of Tsim Sha Tsui. In its third annual year, the “Chocolate Trail” transforms the mall into a chocaholic’s dream, including a five-metre chocolate fountain and chocolate-themed photo and art exhibitions.
NAM was formed as a graphic/art collective in May 2006 by graphic designer Takayuki Nakazawa and photographer Hiroshi Manaka. Their style is to throw gravity and realism out of the window and specialise in the wire-suspension of objects and people to create weightless environments that appear to be caught mid-explosion, “with hints of fantasy, fusing a graphic design point of view into photographic expression”.
They told Lürzer's Archive: "When we were first told about this chocolate theme, we thought that adapting a surreal approach would fit this theme. This production style is one of NAM's strong points. We were very satisfied with the results and think we were able to create an Alice In Wonderland like image."
NAM collaborated with Hong Kong-based creative studio, AllRightsReserved, to shoot the images in their first overseas project, which featured celebrities including Taiwanese performing artist and former basketball player, Blackie Chen (founder of "Love Life"), and singers Charlene Choi Cheuk-yin and Gillian Chung Yan-tung who make up Canto-pop duo ‘Twins’.
"All props you see in these images are actual objects hung with synthetic fibre," says NAM.
"The setup used for the photo shoot had a complex composition. Some of the props are shaped as letters when viewed through the camera finder and we also used illusionism techniques. We paid attention to every details down to the spoons.
"Installation work is very time-consuming, and each image's set-up took a whole day. We stayed in Hong Kong for a week to create the set, but unfortunately we had no time to do any sightseeing, since all of our team had to work throughout the stay - with very little sleep, ha ha!"
Blackie Chen was suspended from a wire using a harness in the style of Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and many of the food elements used in the shoot were real, including real chocolate cake and macaroons.
"We believe the most important aspect of expressing a fantasy world is to keep things as realistic as possible," says NAM.
A realistic setting has a strong persuasive power, therefore, we felt re-constructing the fantasy world in a real life setting is essential in order to create a believable fantasy world."
Image: NAM, Tokyo, specialise in the wire-suspension of objects and people.
See behind the scenes footage (Chinese).