The current hyperactive state of national politics may seem like an unsolvable puzzle to many pundits. This image by commercial photographer Philip Chudy takes this idea to new extremes.
Shot about four or five years ago for a Hasbro advertisement, the image depicts one of the series of Puzz 3D puzzles that can be assembled into models of the world’s most famous buildings.
Like a puzzle, this playful scene is really constructed of many smaller images, which were taken with both DSLR and medium-format cameras and stitched together digitally. The puzzle, the hand models, the camera, the family and the people in the background were all shot separately in a New York studio and composited later with several other images of grass and trees to create a facsimile of Capitol Hill. “Altogether, there are about 10 separate elements there,” Chudy says.
The concept came from Hillary Fabian (hillaryfabian.com), who, at the time, was the creative director for Hasbro’s ad agency, Grey Worldwide. For Chudy, the challenge was to ensure that the light and angle for each element blended to create a convincing sunset scene. “In this business, you’ve got to understand how light works,” he says. “You have to build models and analyze their visual qualities.”
This mixture of model-making and digital retouching seen in this image has been Chudy’s forte for more than 20 years, since before the rise of Photoshop. He is considered one of the pioneers in the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the ad industry. Even in today’s digital world, Chudy, 58, says he is one of the few ad photographers who does his own high-end retouching and CGI work.
Born to European parents and raised in Zimbabwe, Chudy is also a globetrotter, with stints in England, Scotland and Germany. Today, he resides in the Bay Area town of San Rafael, Calif., and splits most of his time between shooting advertising and fine-art images.
For all his technical prowess, however, Chudy has never let CGI overwhelm his work. “I’ve always seen CGI just as a creative tool,” he says. “In the end, it’s the object itself that’s important, not the environment.”
To see more of Chudy’s work, visit philipchudy.com