When French photographer Olivier Valsecchi won the Hasselblad Masters Award in 2012, he was asked by the camera-maker to create a new set of photos that represented one word: "evoke." The result of that abstract brief is Klecksography, a photographic reimagining of the inkblot test.
Popularized by the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, inkblot tests (also known as "Rorschach tests") require people to find form in abstract patterns. The way patients go about interpreting the inkblots is analyzed by a psychologist in order to diagnose mental disorders. Widely used in the second half of the 20th century, Rorschach tests are still studied and utilized in some fields of psychology today. They've also been immortalized by numerous fictional works, including Alan Moore's Watchmen, which featured an inkblot-masked antihero aptly named "Rorschach."
In an interview with The Verge, Valsecchi talks us through his influences, inspiration, and methodology.
Note: the following images contain nudity.
Valsecchi also cites the work of British singer-songwriter Kate Bush as a direct influence on Klecksography. While coming up with the idea for the piece, Kate Bush's song "The Dreaming" was stuck in his head. "This is the weirdest song, with ghostly voices like coming out of the ground, about Australian aborigines being invaded by the Occidental." Appropriately, the song is used in the video below, which shows some of the work that went into creating the series.