Can you spot the nude?
Artist Angelo Musco creates digital images of feathers floating in midair -- weightless, delicate, airy and otherworldly. However, look a little bit closer and you'll see these strange specimens were not plucked from any bird of this planet. Rather, the alien plumes are made from thousands of nude bodies, tangled and woven in ever-intricate configurations.
The series, titled "The Aves," is made up of nine feathers, symbolizing the nine months of pregnancy. The feathers are simply the latest manifestation of what Musco calls his "human landscapes inspired by nature’s intricate architecture" -- a previous project involved nests.
Regardless of the shape the viewer first processes, a closer look reveals the myriad serpentine figures knotted and naked before your eyes. "I call it the 'Paradox of Lightness' because there is this strength and power that comes from this community of thousands of interwoven bodies, yet it is a feather," said Musco. "Ironically it looks effortless and elegant but it is the result of a coordinated and painstakingly long process."
For each image, Musco uses hundreds of volunteer models (if you're interested, you can register on his website). He then choreographs the individuals into pre-planned poses that will later be digitally compiled into a single dazzling image. "The models are mostly strangers to one another yet they come together and work very hard for an afternoon in what becomes this magical choreography that evolves organically." So far, he's photographed his subjects in places including Buenos Aires, Berlin, Naples, New York and London, and is on the lookout for more diverse cultures to include in future projects.
Musco's mind-bending images could make your eyeballs spin for days. They speak to the unexpected complexities and latent beauty lurking where you least expect it -- in art, in nature, and beyond. "The image seems so light and effortlessly floating in the air," he said. "It is a quiet, suspended moment you first see, but as you get closer and go into the piece you find a complex and completely unexpected world."