For decades, scientists have known that we–along with everything else on the planet–contain bits of stardust. That bit of real-life magic has made its way into countless lines of poetry and one horrible Moby song. It is also the basis for Ignacio Torres‘s Stellar project, a series of animated GIFs picturing men and women seemingly floating amid sparkling star particles.
The Texas-based photographer says that his interest in “our celestial ancestry” began in college, where he took several astronomy courses and started to read and watch Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series. “At the same time,” Torres tells Co.Design, “I was obsessed with the stylistic imagery in Alejandro Jodorowsky films, which mostly consisted of desert landscapes. So he decided to combine the two–recruiting friends to be photographed among cacti in El Paso while being pelted with baking flour and confetti. “The process of creating the imagery was an adventure in itself,” he writes. “It was always a battle against time because I was relying on the brevity of the sunsets to create the right mood.”
To achieve the 3-D effect, Torres used stereoscopy, shooting four images from different angles and then compiling them into a single animation that creates the illusion of depth. The movement, according to the artist, “serves as a visual metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their separateness through time.” The floating quality belies the more mundane considerations of the setup: “The most difficult part,” Torres says, “is getting the models to jump at the exact time that the flour and confetti are thrown at them.”