"The X2D is like a camera for painters. The pictures have the taste and technical background of a painting. I almost couldn't differentiate the two because it's just so perfect. This camera produces all the data I could ever use to convey the tales I want to tell with my pictures."

Fine art photographer Flora Borsi creates stunning surrealist self-portraits that capture the intangible. Using the X2D 100C, Borsi brings the viewer into a world of fantasy and storytelling in rich colour and detail.

Flora wants the viewer to see what is in her mind's eye: her concept, emotions, and story. But she has found that her art is often up to interpretation. The viewer may experience something completely different from her intentions when creating the piece. In this way, her work becomes a dialogue with the viewer, bringing their own emotions and memories to the image.

"I wanted to make an image which would represent the Golden Age, an ancient world of gods and goddesses. I made this possible by painting my skin to appear like marble and adding golden feathers and makeup. Sometimes people forget that these ancient cultures lived exactly like us, and one day we will be just as much ancient for the future generations."

© Flora Borsi, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V

"I envisioned how I could represent setting my emotions free. Butterflies fly freely but only live for a short time, just like our feelings. It's all about an eerie instinct that I couldn't describe with words, so I created an image which could tell this story."

© Flora Borsi, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V

© Flora Borsi, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V
© Flora Borsi, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V

Borsi breathes life into her dramatic and whimsical images through a multi-step creative process. She outlines a sketch of her concept and considers its feasibility. The details are crucial in order to visualise the concept properly.

"Every detail is essential to me, from the makeup to final post-production. I need rich details, and to be really precise about them. When I switched to Hasselblad, I realised that whatever I was doing with my hair or makeup had to be perfect. With Hasselblad, I can see every pixel of my skin."

If a single detail is minutely off, then the viewer can easily tell the composition is not real. To Flora, this means that the core surrealist concept of the piece has failed. This attention to detail is especially important for Borsi’s work with galleries, where she must print in a wide range of sizes.

"With 100MP, I can print the images in 150 centimetres or two metres high if I want. It gives me so much joy when I'm standing in front of the prints; it just makes my heart so happy to see the details coming out so perfectly."

It’s not just detail; colour is important. Colour grading is essential to Borsi’s process in order to draw out the mood and psychology behind the colours. It plays a prominent role in creating convincing magical elements and fully relaying the emotion behind the piece.

© Flora Borsi, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V
© Flora Borsi, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V

"The 16-bit colour depth and 15 stops of dynamic range provide so much opportunity to expand my process. I have so many different options with colour grading that I never had before because the image was noisy and the shadows didn't include colours. But with Hasselblad, you can see colours in the highlights and the shadows. Even if it's very dark, it contains colours. And this is what I haven't seen with any other camera.”

© Flora Borsi, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V
© Flora Borsi, X2D 100C + XCD 2,5/55V

In the past few years, Borsi has created her work in-studio, sketching, prop and makeup designing, shooting, and editing. While convenient, this makes for a largely solitary process. Recently, she's considering trying something new: going out of the studio and taking to the streets with medium format.

"The light weight of this new camera body and lens just inspire me to go outside and create ideas using the environment, whether it's in my city or wherever I'm travelling. I have had a concept in mind for around four years about social media vs our real private life and what we show to the world. I was so scared that somebody else would do it. It requires me to go outside and stand on the street. But now, after four years, I can create this concept, and I'm just so excited about it."

Borsi is excited about what the future holds and how her work will grow with her. Her portraits will not only evolve as art pieces but also document her life.

“I've been asked many times if I will ever stop creating self-portraits. Previously, I had always said I would stop when I have wrinkles and I'm getting old. But a few months ago, I just decided I'm going to go with it for the rest of my life. One hundred years from now, when I'm long gone, people will see me age through my work, and how my concepts have developed."

Flora Borsi


Flora Borsi is a fine art photographer and Hasselblad Heroine based in Budapest, Hungary. Her work has been displayed at the Louvre and the Lanoue Gallery, and Borsi has been featured by Adobe, The Guardian's Observer, BBC Culture, and Forbes. Borsi is a grand winner of Florence Biennale.

Inspiration in Every Detail