Many have borrowed from William Shakespeare’s famed “To be, or not to be” line in their work, even those living beyond the literary world’s borders. Alexander Khokhlov is one of them. Fitting up the phrase for the 21st century, ‘2D or Not 2D’ is Khokhlov’s latest series of photos that brings traditional painted portraiture to life. Using a little post-production trompe l’oeil trickery and crafty make-up techniques, the photographer turns traditional 3D portraits into a living replica of 2D art.
The Russian photographer first discovered his love for all things visual back in 2007 and has spearheaded photo shoots for musicians, fashionistas and families alike from across the world. From crazed alchemists to models wearing little more than a cling film dress, Khokhlov is no stranger to experimenting with the medium, and ‘2D or not 2D’ is just the latest in a long line of conceptually creative portrait projects.
He released his first installment of the ‘Art of Face’ series in 2012, in collaboration with seasoned make-up artist Valeriya Kutsan. By approaching the way makeup is used in photography under an artistic lens, the duo created a striking set of images called ‘Weird Beauty’, which saw surreal two-tone logos and illusions applied to the face of female models. 2D QR codes were given over to the contours of a 3D canvas, and the black and white body paint allowed the Russian dream team to draw beauty out of our every day signs and symbols.