The human body can do wonders when it comes to flexibility — take model Lowri Thomas, for example, who recently “transformed” her body into that of a giant spider through body paint and unusual body positions.
Twenty-seven-year-old Emma Faye was behind the makeup and design of the giant tarantula, which involved five hours’ worth of detailed painting, and covered Thomas’s entire body. Faye has been body-painting to transform people into different animals and objects of nature, such as seahorses, giraffes, and spiders.
“This series of transformations is based on the marvels of the natural world,” Faye told the Daily Mail. “The animals featured are both closely linked to evolution and have developed and changed over a long period of time. First I ask the contortionist to get into the initial pose and mark out where they will be. The contortionists can only hold the pose for a maximum of five-seconds so I have to work quickly to get it right. I then keep painting and repositioning the models until they look like the real animal.”
The contortionists are able to keep still in remarkable positions, due to plenty of training and experience as circus performers, acrobats, fire-eaters and stilt-walkers. They learn different techniques such as frontbending — folding forward at the waist, creating a “human knot,” backbending, splits, and enterology, or the ability to squeeze one’s body into a tiny box. Contortionists are also able to perform dislocations of joints, such as the hips or shoulders.
Beth Sykes, one of the many models Faye works with, told the Daily Mail that “[m]y flexibility isn’t all natural, it comes from being trained and years of practice. I used to train six days a week, before school and after school. I absolutely love it."