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Jennifer Hudson finds inspiration in the most personal and natural of places. After a frightening medical scare, Hudson decided to channel her thoughts, feelings and frustrations into an ambitious project exploring the scope of human relationships during illness and recovery. The aptly named "Medic" series was shot at the Santa Fe Institute of Art where the Boston-based photographer was able to turn a studio space into a hospital room of sorts with fantastical machines capable of doing the impossible.
Creating Healing Machines
From a father who wants to take some of his years and give them to his ill son to a man who writes down all of his hopes and dreams for others wishing he could make them all come true, each image is a portrait of a relationship.
She spent six months sketching each image, and the sets were built from the ground up, requiring her to ship a 750-pound crate from Boston to Santa Fe. Hudson pre-shot nearly 300 objects, a mix of metal parts, pipes, knobs, tubes and wires.
Only In Black-And-White
Black-and-white is a key part of Hudson's overall aesthetic when creating images and was particularly important for this series. "These images would have been harder to handle in color. They would have looked almost garish," she explains. "Black-and-white makes them softer and more subtle. It looks more like a dream world that is not quite touchable."
After years of using Photoshop, which would take her hours to get a decent print, she now uses Nik Software Silver Efex Pro exclusively to do the job. Calling the software "absolutely perfect" for making printing adjustments, Hudson especially likes that she's able to protect shadow areas given that her photographs are quite dark and the tonal range is delicate, making it difficult to print.
"I'm extremely picky about my prints and I get rave reviews on the print quality for this series," Hudson says. "I can literally dial in where I want shadows at the click of one button. I make my own presets so my workflow is as simple as loading a file, clicking on a preset, and I'm done."
Jennifer Hudson is currently an instructor at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University, where she teaches Portraiture and Photographic Illustration. To see more of her work, go to www.jenniferhudsonfineart.com.