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Instead of photographing people at the height of their poise and attractiveness, Italian photographer Sandro Giordano prefers to capture them at their depths. Literally. His humorous series called In Extremis (bodies with no regret) features staged photos of people who appear to have fallen flat on their faces in the midst of some bizarre activity. The photos are staged (no one actually fell on their faces for this), and in being so, Giordano can include all kinds of strange and hilarious details.

(via FeatureShoot)

There”s no Photoshop in these photos, either. Each one is carefully staged and arranged by scouting the location, selecting the props and costumes, positioning the model, and then photographing the whole thing. Each detail of the photo allows the viewer to make up a story about the person in the photo, and how they might have ended up in such an unfortunate position.

Giordano was inspired to create this series after he suffered a bike accident. Later, when talking to a friend who had recently broken his leg, Giordano began to notice an unsettling pattern: that when faced with a fall, many people opted, almost on instinct, to protect their belongings rather than their bodies. So he began creating the In Extremis series as a cautionary tale about getting too obsessed over material things.

The pictures are funny, and the characters are also sympathetic we all know how awful it is to trip and fall and see our possessions go flying. This odd method of portraiture shows us that, no matter our money, style, hobbies, or identity, we can all fall. We can all succumb to hubris or exhaustion if our priorities are placed too heavily in the wrong places. We”ll literally be thrown off balance.

You can see the rest of the extensive series, as well as some making-of videos, on Giordano”s Instagram account. He”s on Facebook, as well.

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