When people showed up to Blake Little’s studio in response to a Craigslist ad calling for actors, the amateur thespians didn’t realize what they were in for. Fascinated with honey as a symbol and an artistic medium, Little asked his subjects to strip naked and pose in front of a monochromatic backdrop while his assistants doused them in gallons of the sticky, viscous substance. The experiment yielded a striking photo series in which people with a diverse array of body types and aesthetics appear transformed into statues. Little will exhibit the results in is solo show, “Preservation,” opening March 7 at Kopeikin Gallery in Culver City, CA.
Little first came up with the idea to work with honey as a medium when he shot a portrait of a man whom he describes as “bear-like.” Dissatisfied with using a jar of honey as a hand-held prop, Little covered his subject in the stuff and marveled at the way submerging someone in honey makes them look as if they’ve been preserved in amber. Honey is a fertile symbol to explore, Little realized, as it is often used to allude to the complexity of nature. Thus, the idea for “Preservation” was born. Little intentionally chose to work with diverse models to showcase the variety of the human form (and even one dog), and the resulting photo series certainly makes us appreciate just that. We extend our condolences, however, to everyone who had to spend weeks getting the honey out of their hair after the shoot. In Little’s process video below, the adult humans seemed to enjoy working on this project. But the dog and the baby? We’re not so sure.