For his new series, "Treebeard," Cal Redbeard grafts plant parts onto human faces, and the results are grotesque and beautiful at the same time. The Paris-based photographer has a penchant for creating interesting portraits of people that are both intriguing and creepy.
Intrigued by these striking images, I emailed Redbeard to ask him some questions about the series and the man behind the art.
How old are you? Where are you from originally?
I'm 37 years old and I grew up in La Roche sur Yon, a little town in the west coast of France. I've been in Paris for twelve years now; I'm in love with the capital.
Your name comes up as Pascal Dupont. What's the story behind your alias, Cal Redback?
Pascal Dupont is my name, but it's a very common name in France. So I had to find an alias: Cal Redback. Cal comes from my first name – It's a wink to my best friend who's called me that since we were young. Redback is to remind me of my trip to Australia. The Redback is a dangerous spider we found there.
What was the inspiration for the "Treebeard" series? What made you want to combine plants with people?
When I tried to edit my friend's face with a plant, I first used a double exposure picture as we're used to seeing, just to try it. But in Photoshop, I quickly realized that I could more realistically merge a plant with the face of my friends.
My only goal is to create a feeling in the viewer. A good one or a bad one, it doesn't matter.
Did the people in the "Treebeard" photographs know in advance that you were going to meld them into tree-people? What did they think of the resulting photographs?
Yes my friends knew it beforehand, but didn't know what the results would be like. I am grateful to them for allowing me to play with their portraits. Their first reaction was surprise, of course, and I know they love their photos.
A lot of your manipulated portraits are a little... creepy and sinister, but always very beautiful – is this on purpose?
Yes I realize it. I don't know why, maybe because I like dark beauty and to be surprised.
What's the next project you're working on that you're excited about?
Oh I've got some more Treebeards in process, and many ideas in mind. Hope you'll enjoy them ;)