BREAKING away from the usual definition of fine art, Frank Hoefsmit and Jorell Legaspi opened Forza Interna, a fine art nude photograph exhibit at the Galerie Astra in Makati last May 6. Combinations of digital photography and image editing plus lighting effects compose this eccentric display.

Literally meaning internal force, Forza Interna shows concrete illustrations of man’s internal struggles. The main concept, despite differences between the two artists, is realized in every photo — from simple standing poses to more complicated ones, like that of a woman covered with a sheer cloth, with four distinct lights shining through.

“By using nudity we reduce the photos from every external element,” Hoefsmit said. “We can really depict these internal struggles based on the poses.”

The diversity of the pictures can be attributed to Hoefsmit and Legaspi’s different backgrounds: Legaspi is an amateur photographer, a graphic designer and a stylist for magazines, while Hoefsmit is a veteran photographer for Metro Wedding magazine and Elan. “We worked together but we shot independently,” Hoefsmit said. “It’s nice to compare how two different cultures and two different generations look at the same thing.”

The differences of the artists are very evident in the images. Legaspi’s photographs are more playful, capturing exaggerated body movements, and of course, with image manipulation. In one of his pictures, a woman seems to be shedding off red feathers.

“We use very little modification, but because I’m a graphic designer, there’s still an urge to manipulate a few things,” Legaspi said.

Hoefsmit’s images, on the other hand, are darker, more daring, and more experimental. He even shot outdoors—a true indication of his experience as a photographer. In one of his photos, a man is posing on a huge rock wall in Boracay. “I had that image in my mind for a long time,” Hoefsmit explains. “I had a lot of shots in Boracay and I chose that one because it was so non-Boracay.”

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Hoefsmit enjoys doing fine art photography as it allows him to be more creative and free. He said shooting fine art is quite different from his other works, like fashion, as fine art is about “everything bonded together.”

The images are striking and filled with dark undertones. The photos were a combination of perfect composition, effective lighting and minimal props to define each angle. In Hoefsmit’s favorite image, a man and a woman both stretch their arms as if in praise or in surrender, as a piece of white cloth seems to incidentally drop from above.

Those who plan to buy the images on display will not be disappointed with the quality of the photographs. Each is printed on 30 x 22 archival fine art paper that can last about a hundred years.

Although nude photography may still raise a few eyebrows, Forza Interna may be able to change all that, with the artists’ creative mix of photography, style, and fine art. Art enthusiasts as well as photography fanatics will surely appreciate the ingenious display.

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