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Primordial Soup
2nd PlacePrimordial Soup
gyaban


Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: In the Beginning... II (Expert Editing)
Collection: Portfolio
Camera: Canon EOS-5D Mark II
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
Date: Jul 27, 2013
Date Uploaded: Aug 1, 2013

[Aug. 3rd, 2013 07:01:25 AM]

Defining life is a complex question, and quite controversial as well. A commonly accepted definition can be put as follows (according to Wikipedia): "Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death), or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate". Of course, those "signaling and self-sustaining processes" would need to be precised, which is even harder to do, as many entities are along a grey line regarding the implied physiological functions (for example viruses and other replicators, various hybrids, artificial/mechanical life, etc.)

Regardless of those considerations, the origin of life is a fascinating question. When I was a kid, I heard at school about the infamous Miller–Urey experiment, also known as the "Primitive Soup" experiment: it probably entirely changed my vision of life. Of course, I am no chemist nor biologist, so details are beyond my understanding, but the idea that there is a recipe for life is, again, fascinating to me: put the right ingredients in the right pot, wait a bit, and tadaaaa! Life appears. It is almost like creating "something" from "nothing". The Holy Grail of any artist ;-)

Of course, abiogenesis (which is how this process is called) can be disturbing to some, as it desecrates life, considering that it is a logical and mechanical consequence of the appropriate starting conditions. Life would not be that special after all. Personally, I like this idea a lot, as it is a humble approach of the importance of our own existence, as human beings. After all, our species believed once that Earth was the center of the universe, while we now know it is an insignificant dust lost in the immensity. Similarly, I tend to think that human beings are nothing that special, merely the result of a mechanism started a few billions years ago. I do realize this vision may not be necessarily shared by everyone, but I wanted to express that point of view in my "Primitive Soup" image.

I must say I had great fun creating it. Everything started Saturday July 27th 2013 around 6.00am. My wife and I were awakened by thunder and lightnings. The large droplets of rain were hitting the windows loudly, and after a few minutes, she said to me: "You should go take some lighting photos, these could be useful for the next project". A few minutes later, I was standing half-naked in front of our house, with the camera on a tripod, asking myself what I was doing here. The storm was almost over, but I managed to obtain a couple of shots. While doing so, contemplating the electricity in the sky reminded me that Primitive Soup experiment: this is the moment I decided to create an illustration of that concept.

In the afternoon, I wanted to shoot underwater photos. However, I do not have a housing for my DSLR, nor any waterproof camera. So I took an empty 50 liters aquarium I have at home, and put my camera in it. Then I stepped into the river next to my house, and used the aquarium as a little submarine: worked like a charm! The photos were mostly muddy and blurry, but it was exactly what I needed texture-wise.

Then, back at home, I installed the aquarium in my garden, brought some studio strobes, in order to shoot various photos of black ink sinking into water. Quite an easy setup, and the shapes you get are remarkable. I created the left leg combining several of these photos. The day after, I posed in my studio for the emerging human trunk. I covered myself with mud and water: an interesting experience ;-) Finally, the right leg was created using bread dough, either stretched by hand, or installed on metallic wires to mimic morphological shapes. My wife was of a great help on that: she designed the pseudo-DNA helix as well as the calf part.

I am very happy I was able to translate my thoughts into that image. Of course, it is obviously not at all a realistic approach, rather a digested vision of my mind. I hope some will find it interesting. In any case, thanks for watching, I appreciate your attention a lot.

ETA: The image got much attention wherever I published it, and even already obtained a "Daily Deviation" award; I believe I am getting better at translating my thoughts into images, which makes me happy!

Statistics
Place: 2 out of 38
Avg (all users): 7.7931
Avg (commenters): 9.0000
Avg (participants): 7.4286
Avg (non-participants): 7.9091
Views since voting: 3123
Views during voting: 319
Votes: 87
Comments: 37
Favorites: 6 (view)


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AuthorThread
09/09/2013 02:00:30 AM
Originally posted by CorySmith:

Wow this is absurdly amazing, please tell me this is available for print somewhere.


Thank you very much. Yes you can get a print through either 1X.com or DeviantArt.com, depending on the kind of print you would like. Feel free to PM me if you need any information.
09/08/2013 07:01:11 PM
Wow this is absurdly amazing, please tell me this is available for print somewhere.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/11/2013 03:35:28 PM
If you ever have a your own photo exhibition in France please let me know. I'm not too far away and I'd make a point of coming over. As for the image.. what can I say? Excellent doesn't seem enough...
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/11/2013 11:52:26 AM
Wonderfully creative and well-executed as usual, Christophe. Congrats!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/10/2013 11:42:51 PM
Congratulations Christophe! Great image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/10/2013 12:10:28 PM
Ridiculously well-shot and executed, crazy and creative - all the hallmarks of a Christophe meisterwerk! Well done yet again!!! :-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 10:23:53 PM
amazingly beautiful.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 09:42:44 PM
There is nothing to say. This artwork is in a league all of its own.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 06:35:37 PM
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Absolutely first rate execution of the vision. Amazing how much more satisfying it is when viewed at the Deviant Art link. Big congrats on the ribbon!


Thanks a lot Robert, much appreciated. And yes, DPC would look much better with higher resolution entries!
08/09/2013 05:47:14 PM
Seriously? You'll have no idea how much I laughed when I saw the title of your photo knowing what I had just entered. It's like going to your first pet show, and there's the guy with a big, Irish wolfhound, and you're sitting there with your pet rock. :)

I couldn't even get my globs of cream of mushroom soup to look like anything, and you come up with something like this.

All I can do is shake my head in wonderment until I get dizzy.

superb!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 05:26:56 PM
Absolutely first rate execution of the vision. Amazing how much more satisfying it is when viewed at the Deviant Art link. Big congrats on the ribbon!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 04:24:03 PM
Fantastic execution of your vision. Perhaps someday I will be able to imagine such a complex fantasy and be able bring it to life in Photoshop (but I expect probably not). Congrats on the ribbon.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 07:51:13 AM
I am truly amazed at the lengths you go to create your images ! Another great image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 05:13:05 AM
Congratulations,a wonderful image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 04:08:47 AM
Originally posted by NiallOTuama:

This reminded me of the movie Prometheus. Seen it? And congrats! Cool image!


Yes, loved it. Thanks Niall!
08/09/2013 03:58:05 AM
This reminded me of the movie Prometheus. Seen it? And congrats! Cool image!

Message edited by author 2013-08-09 03:58:35.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 01:12:29 AM
I think my concept of primordial soup is more like chicken noodle than oozy gooey :-)

I can't say I love this, because it makes me feel all sorts of uncomfortable, icky things. And it is rather gruesome and macabre, and a bit violent. Everything "creation" likely is. But man, I sure do appreciate your gift and your ability to express your vision. Congrats on the ribbon.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 12:31:14 AM
I love this image. I believe it is probably your most advanced creation yet. Both in the technicals and the meaning behind the image. Fan-bloody-tastic!!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2013 12:27:02 AM
I think I've said this before, but I would LOVE to see a video of you doing all your pre-production, production and post-production activities. If I ever get over to France, I will pay you a surprise visit as soon as an expert challenge is announced. ;-)
gyaban_congrats3.png
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
08/08/2013 11:42:08 PM
Totally disgusting soup. Love it, even if the details do icky things to my stomach. Great idea.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/08/2013 10:52:32 PM
Truly Astonishing. Can't wait to read how you did this one.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/08/2013 10:27:16 PM
I love the concept and the execution. Ribbon!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/08/2013 06:51:24 PM
Rather more macabre than appealing, but impeccably well done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/08/2013 05:13:14 PM
this must be our french compatriot 9
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/08/2013 01:07:17 PM
No life guard on duty.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/08/2013 08:03:52 AM
Great story telling and composition
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/07/2013 04:26:29 PM
painful beginnings
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/07/2013 10:26:54 AM
This is an absolutely amazing photograph! My favorite in the challenge.
Great work. Really. There's not much I can say other than "Bravo!"

Bumping to a 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/06/2013 10:22:10 PM
Well done. Love the details here, that double helix just pushed this to the top!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/04/2013 02:15:41 PM
Very good image,as always.Top three.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/03/2013 08:05:08 PM
Oh I love the editing. This is a good shot
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/03/2013 05:52:02 PM
You did it again :) Love the DNA string in the front
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/03/2013 07:34:37 AM
More like the end than the beginning, despite the DNA helix. One obviously shouldn't dip one's feet into the primordial soup...
Anyway, fascinating work. As a guess, I would say it's gyaban's handwriting.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/02/2013 11:02:21 PM
This is absolutely bizarre - and I do so love it. Very unique and quite unsettling but the best photography makes you feel something and this definitely does.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/02/2013 10:44:38 AM
This is so creepy but so awesome.....very nice work!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/02/2013 02:29:16 AM
amazing work
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/02/2013 02:03:00 AM
I missed Expert challenges a lot because I missed seeing your work. You are the most incredible! Congrats!
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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