Balloon Man for '(not) Naked with Masks' by Ben Hopper
I finally managed to visit Montreal for the first time in the summer of 2016. I stayed for the whole month of July; full-on summer alongside non-stop festivals.
I came to explore and work on my projects 'Transfiguration' and 'Dancers on Rooftops' with local circus artists and dancers.
Montreal is home to Cirque du Soleil and its famous circus festival MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE. Obviously, the city is a Mecca for dancers and circus artists.
One night, Sigrid La Chapelle was introduced to me by a mutual circus artist dancer friend. Sigrid is a multitalented artistic director & developer, producer, photographer, scenographer and performer. He's also famous for his intricate balloon hat-like headpieces, which he spends hours when creating each.
When we met, he showed me photos of these headpieces on his phone. I told him about my 'Naked with Masks' project and asked if he thinks he could create a mask out of his balloons instead of a headpiece. He said he could. I then pushed my luck further and asked if he'd be up to be the model with the balloon mask. He agreed.
It took Sigrid about 3 hours to create this magnificent piece, only to be worn for a few minutes. Luckily, we had a camera to freeze that moment in a frame, forever.
The final photograph that ended up as part of 'Naked with Masks' was photographed at the exact same spot, without the zip-up hoodie he used here to cover his private parts.
July 24, 2016. The bank of St. Lawrence River, Montreal, Canada.