“Tableaux vivant” is an art world term that means “living picture.” Subjects are arranged and lit theatrically, expressing ideas, emotions and inner life in light, shadow and gesture.

Travis Francis makes images with the tableaux vivant aesthetic in mind, but he pares it down to the essential. Often he focuses on just one or two living subjects in a charged environment. There’s a feeling of desolation and anticipation–as if the spaces his subjects inhabit are but seconds away from cataclysm. Like a novelist or biographer, he steals a glimpse inside his subjects’ quiet desperation, secret longings, pleasures, joys…

Don’t sit for a Francis photograph if you don’t want something vital about yourself exposed and rendered in a disarmingly beautiful way.