This time, I decided to create an entry on the 'post-apocalyptic' theme. As usual, everything photographed and processed by me.
First, I had to find an idea: a dark mood was an obvious choice, but how add some interest to it? What kind of story to illustrate the destroyed environment? After some thinking, I decided to go with that man, lost in this new world, not really knowing what to do or not, what to believe or not. A man all by himself.
Then I needed an old ruined church. I created it using 3 actual churches:
1) Church of St. Ouen, Rouen
2) Cathedral of Rouen
3) Jumieges Abbey
I created a composite of 1) and 2), as none of them were fitting natively in my final frame. It was an amazing experience: the churches were matching incredibly well. It is quite obvious that their architects followed similar rules and plans. In fact, that similarity help me greatly, and even perhaps permitted me to finish the project within the week. Don't get me wrong, there was still some work to do (cloning out the altar, the visitors, adjusting the colors and lighting, etc.) but the main geometrical lines were just magically matching.
Then, I of course needed to 'destroy' it. For that, I used the photos of 3), which is actually a ruined abbey. I photographed many broken walls, windows, arks, roofs, and inserted them everywhere in my main image.
At this stage, I had all the photos I needed for the main building, but the ground was much too clean. Where to find a ground full of debris? I found the answer in an old abandoned hospital, located an hour away from where I live: the Sanatorium of Aincourt. The Internet is an incredible tool to find shooting locations I must say. The hospital was in use until WW2, unfortunately also used as internment camp during that war. It was quite unbelievable to penetrate in there. Everything was destroyed, graffiti on each wall, windows all broken... and yet one was able to recognize the rooms, their functions, and imagine all the things that happened. My wife and I were walking all alone, silently, visiting the different floors: it was very impressive, and sad at the same time. What you see is the actual content of various rooms and corridors ground.
In fact, all the churches and debris photos were taken the same day, that my wife and I spent on the road (first Aincourt sanatorium, then Rouen for the 2 churches, then Jumieges for the abbey). Intense, but rewarding, and we were lucky with the weather. Good that we had our roadmap ready, or we would never had the time to photograph everything.
Finally I shot a photo of myself at home using the appropriate lighting (and wearing some very old clothes way too big for me), and processed everything together, which took about 20 hours. The light beams converge to (quite logically) one point, relatively close to the church, symbolizing a reachable hope.
Thanks a lot for watching, hope you like it!