Christina Heurig

images · art direction · set design

Commission: Cinematic Action Portraits in Switzerland

I portrayed Christine, Tony and Jasmin as action movie heroes for a fictional movie poster. Nidwalden (Switzerland), August 2018.

You’ll find more portraits (and making of material) in the full article.

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Commission: Cinematic action shoot – post production

For the final images a lot of post production was necessary.

A closer look onto the process in the full article.

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Nightly Visitors: experimental scans

Something wicked this way comes!

I dragged my taxidermied animals over my flat bet scanner, while it was scanning. The result are some funky fun-images of nightmarish monsters.

Background and more images in the full article.

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Autumn memories portrait: post process

Some shoots don’t end up ‘right’ on location. You have to make the magic happen in Photoshop. I got it ‘right’ 4 years later.

Here’s how I created an epic ‘fairytale’ panorama:

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Experimental doll portraits: Olimpia’s ball

Inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story “The Sandmann”: A mad man falls in love with a lifelike doll at a ball. This is what he might have seen.

Shot in the process of creating the art books ‘The notebooks of N.’ (Der Sandmann).

More images in the full article.

 

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Bumpy roads and personal success (Retroperspective 2011 – 2016)

The road to happiness is bumpy, but I built myself a rocket and am now aiming for the lucky star!

I gave up my waiting spot in the ‘how can I make it happen?’ help desk line.

Since 2011 I’ve been busy with studying, internships in advertising agencies and in the film set production sector. I traveled a lot through European cities and soaked myself with culture in Berlin. Developed my portfolio every waking second.

I went through heaven and hell, a lot of times. For years I felt like I can’t accomplish anything and like I can’t belong to anyone (creatively speaking). Until I stumbled upon the right mentors to establish my visual voice.

Point is: you can make it, if you start to believe in yourself.

Here’s how I did it.

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The hallway to Wonderland (BTS)

Minature photography, checkerboard mystery and the pleasure of bending reality

Well, there is no easy way on the road to success. Ever. Photography is based on reality – and all a photographer can work with is a ‘real‘ objects. read more …

The Heartmill Lands: Making of Pt. 2

Some emotions can be depicted best without a human body in it.

I portrayed people for years, trying to picture their “innermost”, their soul, emotions, stories. But it never seems to quite fit to the wicked, mysterious, quite surreal world… in my heart… those worlds I wander in my dreams.

That’s the main issue why I started creating the surreal landscapes.

 

The center part of the human soul-scape – and power unit of my surreal wonder-world:

06 The Heart Mill

It is a palace of heavy work: The Heart Mill. And I named my fictional landscape-universe after it: “The heartmill lands”.

I imagined human hearts for a long time as rumbling, rotating, whirling machines that won’t stop to produce the essentials of life: emotions, the ‘food’ that keeps a soul alive. It can break, it can be taken down by storm – and needs a lot of manpower and some skill to keep working. This symbolic image was brilliantly clear in my mind for years. And finally I found a way to visualize it!

The model building process:

At first I tried to build a ‘normal’ mill out of toys, but soon found the center piece to be missing anyway.

So I went down another (ugly) road: with my fascination for anatomy, I always keep some sheep hearts in my freezer. They look similar to human hearts.

I glued cutton balls to a bed sheet and lit it from behind to create a dramatic sky. The sky has an ugly yellow, sulfuric color – in a golden dawn. An almost war-like atmosphere, apocalyptical but still romantic landscape: with the mill towering above the hills.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-04-14 um 23.17.48

The power lines are small toy train accessories from ebay to make the whole scene more ‘real’. Like an actual, modern human lives in the mill. For some reason I could not stop to think about the tale of Krabat (A wizard keeps slaves working in his mill to sustain his black magic power. At night he turns them into raven and when they are out of use into another animal. In my childhood this tale scared me to death.)

 

Used the same set for another scenery: a nightmarish factory.

While nearly drowning in my workflow, I built another desert landscape out of sand and spices. That means: remove the moss and spill all kitchen supplies on the table. Yay.

My whole room smelled like curry and paprica – and made me cry all the time. The image of a small city – or building – made out of old computer boards is old, too. I helped my dad often to repair electronic stuff when I was little – and all I saw were small cities with streets and houses.


Basically, working in a cold, uncomfortable factory is my nightmare. Black steel, towering chimneys, where no individual matters anymore.
The rocks: catalysator pieces from ebay and some of my syringes as futuristic glas towers. I reduced the clouds to create a flatter, more undramatic and unpersonal feeling.

In the end, the monocrome version helpes to remove emotion and add cold distance. In the back you can see the tape I stuck the cotton to. After a while all of it fell down because it is not so easy to keep lose cotton in place.

 

A comment on the conceptual background of the surrealism of the series: Inappropriate objects replace the ‘usual’

For two reasons I soon started abusing objects, drifting farer and farer away from pure imitation of known landscapes.

First: Being a student means you cannot afford everything – I only had a broken toy mill and not many other miniature toys. Either I get creative or I will starve to death. (Haha.)

Second: I fell in love with a pure surreal approach to objects long ago. Combining objects, creating new contexts, questioning perception and – finally creating another realm of ‘reality’. Those so-not-logical combinations fill my dreams, my sense of humor and are symbols to a rather fantastical version of reality that can still be approached (due to ‘real’ objects in them.)

One of my favorite surrealists: Rene Magritte – “Personal Values” (1952)

Making surreal landscapes that combine known “every-day” objects with a landscape (where said objects could, size-related, not fit in) creates a feeling of awe and wonder.

Wonder and curiosity is my first and strongest power and energy-source to thrive on. It keeps the inner child alive, it eases all the every-day grayness, it makes you understand…

 

how beautiful the world is.

 

 

 

The Heartmill Lands: Making of Pt. 1

And in a far away land […] – In 2014 I started creating miniature landscapes with photography and everyday-objects.

01 The Explorer

Why I started it: the need to create my fully controlled *fantasy* home.

I shot people for years and years. (With the camera. And with darts, duh!) But it never seemed to quite fit to the wicked, mysterious, quite surreal world in my heart… those worlds I wandered in my dreams…

Don‘t get me wrong, people are not boring – but some emotions and thoughts, so it seems – can be depicted best without a human soul in it.

It started in October 2014 when I first picked up some random toys and arranged them into a landscape. The idea on it dwelled for months and years. I don’t know even how it got so attatched to my brain. Maybe while I fed some little fishes in grandpa’s fish bowl when I was 10. Maybe because I sometimes sit in my room and pretend that everything is ten times it’s size like in Wonderland.
Maybe because I want to escape so desperately to the places I feel home in.

Because I want to be a 3 year old child again who arranges toys and pretends to live in a far away country as king and queen.

 

Be a child! I took my toy plane and started messing around. With cotton.

At some random point I just took my toy plane, pulled the curtains so my room was totally dark, cleaned my table and lay some cotton balls on it. I put the toy on some strings and hung it from the next best tripod I could find.

1

My whole room was basically a big table 2-meter table with cutton clouds on it and a soft box in the rear end. I loved the unsharp “clouds” in the foreground of the image. It felt like floating, just being really above the clouds. Imitating a real nature scenery was thrilling, because it felt so real, but still was “just” in my room, made of toys.
I took some experimental shots afterwards…

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… and soon I realized all the possibilities it held for me. A wonderland. So I went on working:

 

My toy camera became an exploring cyclops in a desert field – and an iconic image.

This scene popped up in my head the moment I saw my fur coat on the floor while I held the camera. It is my grandpa’s camera (that I never, ever used because analog is not my friend until now. I really tried. I did. Splashing around with liquids in the darkroom is just no fun for me…)

The fury blanket  reminded me of me being little and pretending on grandma’s fluffy carpet that I am in a big field with high gras. Also it made me remember the tale of Baba Yaga (a russian folklore about a witch living in a house on chicken feet), a rather odd story.

01 The Explorehfghgfr

It was instant love, it was instant fascination, it was instantly the symbol of my whole existence: a lone wanderer in the hot desert, a cyclops monster staring at the surreal world around it, exploring, standing, staring.
Awkward, lonely.

In the beginning I experimented with toy utility power poles (that were usually for toy train systems) but it was a struggle with them. Always fell over and my 50mm lens could not catch them sharply in the foreground.
Miniature dioramas are very sensitive to perspective and with the 50mm I got the most real landscape feeling (my 80mm tele compressed the space too much – the illusion fell apart).

It did not take much to create an illusion: some drift wood in the back and some crow feet glued with clay to the bottom of the camera. Ta-ta: looks like field.

I glued some cotton balls to a white cotton sheet and lit it with a flash from behind.

To reflect rather golden light I used the gold side of the reflector, as well as (not in the making of picture above because added this later) a red-ish flash from the side to make the clouds look a bit pinkish.

The only retouching was to get rid of the rubber band (I confess: I AM LAZY: the camera always fell apart, so I got angry and just rubber-banded it. ha.)
and enhance some of the colors. But there is no adding of image parts in post production.

So the kingdom of surreal landscapes came to life.

I called it soon after “The heartmill lands”. Why that is you can see here: http://www.heartmill.com/blog/2016/02/17/heartmill-land-miniature-landscapes-pt-2/

And they lived happily ever after.

 

The poet in a one-frame tale. Retrospective 2013

How I started to create cinematic portraits.

The poor poet

2013 I created my first highly detailed, cinematic portrait. A style I use often since then and never chases to fascinate me.

Here’s what happened back then.

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