Fiction and Reality

Abdomen (Nat Chard)

The body project drawings are made on Polaroid transfers using type 59 film, taken with a 5″ by 4″ view camera. The Cambo camera I use has just enough movement side to side to take a left and right eye shot without moving the tripod or camera’s monorail (when photographing the anatomical torso at the distances used in these shots). If you look at the first body projects in the second post there is no compensation for the position of the figure in the frame, while in the subsequent projects I used the horizontal shift in the film plane to locate both images in the same area of the frame. Despite this, the imprecise nature of making the transfers makes it hard to register the two images centrally on the stretched watercolour paper (I was using a heavy grade of Fabriano Five). When you see the frames lined up the pairs of images are noticeably irregular.

One day while I was working on the second body project (previous post) I was drawing on a pair of images in the morning. So as to protect the rest of the image I placed a paper mask (see the image above) that exposed only the area I was working on. I placed masking film over that area and cut out my masks for airbrushing with a Swann Moron scalpel. That afternoon I had an appointment at the hospital to examine a mole on my abdomen that was growing at a worrying rate. On seeing my mole, the doctors decided to remove it. As I sat there they gave me a local anaesthetic and then placed a paper mask around the area, mostly I believe for my modesty. Then they cut into my abdomen with exactly the same sort of scalpel I had been working with that morning. As they cut around the mole into the fatty layer under the skin to make sure they had captured everything. I was looking through a paper mask to the inside of my body just in the same way I had looked at a similar area of the body in the drawings.

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