Chess Pieces Come to Life: A Brilliant Conceptual Photography Set by Francesco Ridolfi

1 Chess-Portraits-White-Queen by Francesco Ridolfi

One of the greatest strategy board games ever made, chess has been around since 1090. The game reached Europe via the Islamic world the word and the term “checkmate” began as the Persian phrase “shāh māt” which means “the King is helpless.” Now it is one of the most popular games in the world and Italian photographer Francesco Ridolfi has decided to bring both sides of all 6 chess pieces to life. In his exquisitely imagined and executed “Chess Portraits” series, Ridolfi shows us the duality of each piece with a white and black costumed version of the Queen, King, Bishop, Knight, Rook and Pawn. The props, character choice, and costuming is so well done that it will be difficult not to picture these characters during your next chess match.

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Ridolfi explains the deeper meaning behind why he chose this project:


Apart from my personal tie with the game, what really gave rise to the project was the opportunity that chess offers for exploring the lighter and the darker sides of the human psyche through the game’s opposition of pieces in Black versus White. Through its six different figures, chess offers a series of archetypal human personalities: types we can hold our own natures up against, to highlight different aspects and to bring particular facets into relief. It offers an opportunity to portray the self-same character and chess piece both as Black and as White. In this way we can reveal opposite aspects that often cohabit within our personalities.

We were so stoked to hear back from Ridolfi. Thanks for sharing these stunning images with our readers! Take a peek behind the scenes of this magnificent shoot in the video below, then you must see the full resolution versions of these images on his website. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Above: White Queen Below: Black Queen
2 Chess-Portraits-Black-Queen by Francesco Ridolfi

White King
3-Chess-Portraits-White-King by Francesco Ridolfi

Black King
4 Chess-Portraits-Black-King by Francesco Ridolfi

White Bishop
5 Chess-Portraits-White-Bishop by Francesco Ridolfi

Black Bishop
6 Chess-Portraits-Black-Bishop by Francesco Ridolfi

White Rook
7 Chess-Portraits-White-Rook by Francesco Ridolfi

Black Rook
8 Chess-Portraits-Black-Rook by Francesco Ridolfi

White Knight
9 Chess-Portraits-White-Knight by Francesco Ridolfi

Black Knight
10 Chess-Portraits-Black-Knight by Francesco Ridolfi

White Pawn
06-Chess-Portraits-White-Pawn by Francesco Ridolfi

Black Pawn
11-Chess-Portraits-Black-Pawn by Francesco Ridolfi

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