Tais Sirote is a London-based photographer specialising in still life photography. Her most recent project on the ‘future prosthetic arms’, explores the future of bionics and and how a cyborg arm can have a delicate balance with nature. Her creativity, knowledge of light and composition shines in every image, so we caught up with Tais to find out what it was like working with the Hero Arm and what inspired her.
Tais, tell us about yourself, how did you get into photography?
I’m originally from Argentina, but I grew up in Cannery Island, Spain. Since I was 15 I used to practise photography on the side and I think studying graphic design really had an impact on my work and how I approach projects.
I instantly thought of how technology helps people to have a better life, especially if you are missing a limb. For me, it’s the problem that I can relate to because my dad was born without his left arm and I always think about how his life could have been impacted or different if he had access to this technology.
I had an opportunity to move to London in 2015 to work as a commercial photographer. I did all sorts of projects with different brands, magazines and I also worked on my personal projects on the side. I got interested in still life photography because I’m a self-taught photographer and I had a chance to be more intuitive by trying new things and learning about different lighting options. Over time, it kind of came naturally and by then I already build some awesome relationships with set designers and other creatives in the industry.
I’m also really interested in still life because I have to show emotion using a collection of different objects. This means I need to show different emotions through using different lighting, which for me, that challenge is really interesting and really appealing.
Tell us about your recent project featuring the Hero Arm
I was doing a project where a studio called Proto Editions commissioned me to work around a series of photographs based on the future of the brand by bringing together nature and technology. I instantly thought of how technology helps people to have a better life, especially if you are missing a limb. For me, it’s the problem that I can relate to because my dad was born without his left arm and I always think about how his life could have been impacted or different if he had access to this technology.
My dad was born in 1952 and the hospital back then didn’t have ultrasounds so they couldn’t see that my dad had the umbilical cord wrapped around his arm and his left arm couldn’t grow properly. When my dad was growing up, he had a prosthetic that couldn’t do anything and he hated it because it was just more for the physical look and for him to be more normal in other people’s eyes.
I talked to him about what kind of technology we have right now and how there are prosthetics that could actually help him hold things. I then started doing research and I contacted a few places, including you guys at Open Bionics.
the butterfly photo is my favourite because it visually shows how something so powerful as technology can actually have such a fragile connection with humans and nature itself.
I instantly really like the idea of 3D printing and how cyborg the arm looks and the way the company does a lot of design covers for children to empower them and make them feel different in a good way. I immediately thought that this is something that is aligned with the project that I was working on. In fact, I worked on a similar project about three years ago and I came across Open Bionics so when this opportunity came along, I was like, oh, I think they’re perfect for this!
How would you describe your creative process for the shoot?
We started researching prosthetics in general, for example, the types of prosthetics that we have in the market and how they help people in different ways. Then I did some research about the different cases of people that were born without upper limbs and I came across different stories that were really interesting.
I wanted to visually express something that when you see it, you can imagine feeling it
I then researched on the visuals and composition of images in an aesthetic way and in the way that I wanted to show the technology interacting with nature. My idea was to produce still images where the aesthetics are sort of in the eighties by bringing in nature and the new technology together. I also wanted to visually express something that when you see it, you can imagine feeling it.
For example, I decided to use a person’s arm to wrap around the Hero Arm. This sort of gives the idea that you can feel the other person’s arm even if it’s a cyborg arm. And then I did another shot of the Hero arm with the butterfly. This shows that you have the ability using a prosthetic arm to touch something that is really fragile, but you are in control. I also did another shot of the Hero Arm pressing on top of the latex which visually represents the sense of touch.
What did you like most about the shoot?
The most amazing moment was to actually see the Hero Arm in real life. I never had the chance to see it before or even touch one. It was amazing to see how advanced the technology is and how sensitive the prosthetic was. So I think that was my favourite moment of the shoot because we were all impressed.
What is your favourite photo from the shoot?
I will say the one with the butterfly photo is my favourite because it visually shows how something so powerful as technology can actually have such a fragile connection with humans and nature itself.
I think we are all really fragile in a way and that image really shows how technology can have such an impact on someone’s life.
Anything exciting projects coming up?
I’m in a shoot right now where we’re working with a lot of technology and it’s mostly more from an aesthetic way. For example, using the x-ray to do a shoot. So I’m really excited about it. And, yeah, I’m always trying to find different ways of working around my visual perspective by using technology and different techniques to express my work. That’s kind of exciting for me!
Set Design – Imogen Frost @imogenfroststudio
Photo Assistant – Leonie McQuillan @leonie.mcquillan
Retouching – Phoenix Bespoke @_phoenixbespoke
All photography copyrights are owned by Proto Editions. Thank you for allowing us to share the incredible work of Tais with our community. Find out more about the studio here >>>>> https://protoeditions.xyz/
Proto editions explore the intersection of the changing sociological, environmental & technological landscapes we live in by splitting our time between self-initiated projects and client commissions. The studio works with people and brands to challenge how they engage with and navigate these new landscapes. They also exploring new narratives through emotion, design & technology.
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