Fluttering into Vegas Seven’s virtual inbox this week comes a project from local photographer Eric Ita: a nightmarish post-apocalyptic scene, rendered in vivid fire-and-flesh tones, complete with gun-toting soldiers and fleeing citizens.
What’s interesting about the image (called ‘End of the World’), is that it’s actually a kind of virtual flash mob directed by Ita and his creative partner, graphic artist Lauder Corea. Working with a budget of about $100, the pair recruited friends and acquaintances on Facebook—some came from as far away as Missouri—and put them in costume. Ita then shot individual portraits of the actors that Corea superimposed onto a background of debris and buildings photographed at Universal Studios. (The duo had sketched out a plan for the piece, but didn’t show it to the actors.)
“My original idea was taking different cinematic themes and making photo versions of them,” explains Ita, who says he got the idea while watching an episode of “Dexter.”
It isn’t the first cinematic composite the two have created—past themes included a crime scene and a girl-on-girl fight club. But this time, they decided to have a local production company film the experience.
The video provokes a range of thoughts and emotions. It’s jarring to see actors grin and joke for the camera while appearing to bleed from their stomachs or cradle dead loved ones in their arms. Then there’s the question of why the artists chose such a violent narrative, and our culture’s general fascination with dystopia.
“It’s weird: I hate guns, but I like watching violence,” says the 27-year-old Ita, a native of Nigeria who studies film at UNLV and has occasionally shot photographs for Vegas Seven. “I’m always kind of fascinated with things going wrong. If you look at the photos, even with the violence there’s still kind of a sense of peace. It’s one of those slow-motion things where it’s violent but it’s beautiful.”
For his next project, however, Ita says he wants to strike a more comedic note: “I’m trying to think of weird things people do at odd times, like if someone’s falling out of a plane and they’re on their Facebook.”
Want to pose for Ita? Follow Facebook.com/EricItaPhotography.
What did you think of the video? Tell us in the comments.