These Are Not Portraits Being Torn Apart by Speeding Bullets

For his new project called “Explosion Collages,” photographer and visual artist Fabian Oefner made a number of images featuring portraits being blown apart by speeding bullets. But things aren’t what they seem…

We are not looking at perfectly timed pictures. Bullets did not destroy the photographs into countless bits and pieces. Oefner makes these works by taking a large number of pieces from the initial print and carefully arranging them into a new piece, resulting in a hyperrealistic illusion that shows a real yet non-existing moment in time.

“Today, where most photographs only exist in a digital realm, Oefner returns to the photograph as a physical object. The projectile piercing through the print transforms a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional object in space. The original subject of the photograph, the portrait remains visible, but due to the kinetic energy of the moment of destruction, transforms into a new piece of art.”

Oefner also provided the painstaking procedure that is going into every single elaborate collage. Every single piece starts off with his sketch of what the final photo will look like, making use of a suitable image he selected from his collection of books. Led by this sketch, he continues to tear apart the print into many, many pieces, that he captures piece by piece to rearrange later in post-process.

Oefner was born in 1984. He grew up in Switzerland where he still lives and works today. He did his preliminary studies at the Basel University of Art where he studied painting, photography, typography and art history. Later he received his Bachelor of Arts in Product Design at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Northwestern Switzerland. Oefner`s work is frequently featured in distinguished publications such as The Washington Post, National Geographic, Der Spiegel, Stern, Wired, BBC among many others.

Most images these days exist  in a digital realm, Oefner’s “Exploding Collages” re-introduce us to the photograph in abstract, as being a actual object in tangible space.


Fabian Oefner: Website | Instagram | Behance