Constructed Photographic Images

Constructed Photographic Images

Keith Cottingham constructs realist photographs depicting portraits, architectural interiors and still lifes. These subjects, however, have no material existence; they are fictions that blur the distinction between imagination and reality. The process uses an amalgam of digital sculpting, texture painting, physics based 3D rendering along with traditional art making methods such as wax sculpting and drawing.  The finished artwork is printed as archival photographic prints.


Keith Cottingham, a contemporary artist based in San Francisco, has been working with computer technology since 1988. His work has been reproduced and exhibited in major exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States, including the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; Siemens AG, Munich, Germany; Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, Spain; Hayward Gallery, London, England; Stadtische Museen, Heilbronn, Germany and Neue Galerie Graz, Austria. His work is in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Bloom - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Bloom - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Condensation - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Condensation - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Attraction - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Attraction - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Glow - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Glow - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Coalesce - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Coalesce - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Transfigure - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Transfigure - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Expanse - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Expanse - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Emergent - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Emergent - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Emanate - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Emanate - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Chill - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Chill - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Flare - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Flare - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Quiver - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Quiver - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Lure - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Lure - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.

Trace - Biology & Cosmology 2016

Trace - Biology & Cosmology 2016

digitally constructed 3D model
archival pigment print
large - image size, 44 x 66 inches, edition 3
small - image size, 24 x 36 inches, edition 10
© Copyright | Keith Cottingham | All Rights Reserved 2016


On the surface, these minimalist compositions touch on imagery from biology and cosmology. Yet there is a other worldly, brilliant seduction to these large-scale photographic prints. Bold energetic colors, narrow depth of field and time-lapse motion create emotional under tones. Light feels acidic, bleeding through and activating subjects in new ways. Condensation and liquid represent form and spirit infusing out of emptiness. Some images are warm with wonderment, while others are coldly still. Unlike the everyday subjects of the previous Fictitious Portraits and Utopian Interiors series, these new CG renderings operate outside human scale. Are we inside living cells or floating amongst the stars.

Instead of light photons revealing a outside world through a lens, these pure renderings go beyond photography to objectify 3D representations not tethered to real world referents. The 3D scenes, materials and lights are sculpted and designed, but how their physical properties interact with each other to create an image is based on real world physics.  This divergent approach allows going beyond real world limitations to create artful ‘visualizations’ blurring the distinction between imagination and reality.

As the lifeworld becomes more and more quantified, mystery is being further reduced and buried underneath the appearance of the rational. But there is more than meets the eye. What is circulating and permeating below the surface of the visible? What are the unseen creative forces breathing life into our unfolding existence? How will the new paradigm of matter and energy taking precedence over the ‘soul’ affect our understanding of ourselves? These colorful abstractions hope to re-enchant the viewer with the ‘mysterious’ by glimpsing the world that is just beyond our understanding. The deeper we look, the greater the new expanse becomes.