Examining Nudes, Planets, and Churches Six Times Over

The Photo Blog
Jan. 11 2013 11:29 AM

Examining Nudes, Planets, and Churches Six Times Over

Jenny Okun. Grand Central Clock.
Grand Central Clock. New York City, 2005.

Jenny Okun.

For more than 25 years Jenny Okun has created multiperspective composite photographs. A prolific photographer, Okun “rejoiced” at the advent of digital photography, which liberated her from the tricky in-camera multiple exposures she took with her film cameras. Her new book, Dreamscapes: The Photographic Art of Jenny Okun, reveals subjects including nudes, architecture, and the solar system that Okun has dissected and reinterpreted, usually by combining six images.

“[The book] has some odd things,” Okun said in a Skype interview from her London studio. “Like the planets. My daughter [Lizzi] wants to be an astronaut so I downloaded NASA images and tried to make space look really cozy.” (Lizzi is completing a master’s in space science.)

Saturn 2.
Saturn 2 Globes. NASA, 2008.

Jenny Okun.

It isn’t the first time Okun has been influenced by her family.

Advertisement

Okun and her husband, British writer Richard Sparks, will head home to Los Angeles for the L.A. Opera’s Dulce Rosa, which Sparks adapted from a story by Isabel Allende. The company commissioned Lee Holdridge to write the score and Okun to provide 300 photographic projections.

The preparations for the project put Okun into some less than ideal situations.

In search of Allende’s fictional setting, Okun crisscrossed Latin America, from the rain forests of Costa Rica to the dangerous docks of Lima, Peru, where she had to grab shots through a car window because the cabdriver refused to stop.

Jenny Okun.
Broad Stage. Santa Monica, Calif., 2008.

Jenny Okun.

Some of Okun’s most intriguing work are her nudes: sometimes shot in a straightforward manner, other times created with a more mysterious, somewhat camouflaged method.

Jenny Okun. Purple Flower Nude.
Purple Flower Nude. Los Angeles, 2004.

Jenny Okun.

Jeny Okun Nude in Flames.
Nude in Flames. Los Angeles, 2004.

Jenny Okun.

When Okun decided to do nudes, she got a little help from her friends: “My poor dinner guests!” she explains. “I’d get them drunk and ask to photograph them. It’s surprising in Hollywood how many people will take their clothes off. I projected images on them so it looks round.”

For Fairy Lights, Okun took a more direct approach, asking a friend: “Would you mind if we went outside and I wrapped Christmas tree lights around you and took some photographs?”

Fairy Lights Nude
Fairy Lights Nude. Los Angeles, 2004.

Jenny Okun.

Okun’s next assignment involves straight photography—no nudes, no Photoshop. She was selected to photograph Obama’s inauguration for the official 2013 inauguration book.

Jenny Okun.
Zarcero Topiary. Costa Rica, 2010.

Jenny Okun.

Jenny Okun.
Salisbury Cathedral Stained Glass. England, 2007.

Jenny Okun.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The NFL Has No Business Punishing Players for Off-Field Conduct. Leave That to the Teams.

Meet the Allies the U.S. Won’t Admit It Needs in Its Fight Against ISIS

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Medical Examiner

How to Stop Ebola

Survivors might be immune. Let’s recruit them to care for the infected.

History

America in Africa

The tragic, misunderstood history of Liberia—and why the United States has a special obligation to help it fight the Ebola epidemic.

New GOP Claim: Hillary Clinton’s Wealth and Celebrity Are Tricks to Disguise Her Socialism

Why the Byzantine Hiring Process at Universities Drives Academics Batty

Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 3:29 PM The Fascinating Origins of Savannah, Georgia’s Distinctive Typeface
  News & Politics
History
Sept. 23 2014 11:45 PM America in Africa The tragic, misunderstood history of Liberia—and why the United States has a special obligation to help it fight the Ebola epidemic.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Education
Sept. 23 2014 11:45 PM Why Your Cousin With a Ph.D. Is a Basket Case  Understanding the Byzantine hiring process that drives academics up the wall.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:38 PM “No One in This World” Is One of Kutiman’s Best, Most Impressive Songs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 23 2014 11:37 PM How to Stop Ebola Could survivors safely care for the infected?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?