The Human Element represents the culmination of several years of David Bell and Joe Scarpulla’s collaborative photography and sculpture work. Their process involves building intricately detailed miniature tableaus populated with hand-sculpted human figures cast in silicone rubber. The photographs are made with an antique Crown Graphic camera and 4x5 Fuji Chrome t64 film. Keeping a referential eye on both traditional and unconventional street photography, Bell and Scarpulla depict their invented environments and rubber denizens as living, breathing entities.
In this series of images, the relationship of the figure to its environment is used as a means to explore personal, spiritual, and social identity. As long established mores of religion, spirituality, and culture are replaced by or fused with new philosophical, scientific, and social trends in today's world, people -- like the figure in the images -- are left to form their own sense of social and spiritual identity. With these photographs, Bell and Scarpulla invite viewers to peer at society through this metaphysical lens they have created.
© David Bell and Joe Scarpulla 2013.