Every week I have to rip off famous photographers for one of my Fine Arts Photography modules at the University of Melbourne.
The title of this module – “Fake It Till You Make It!”. Here are some of my latest ‘homages’…
1) Artist – Bill Henson
Famed for his chiaroscuro (use of shadow and light) and no stranger to controversy when prudes tried to get his photographs of prepubescent teens banned in Australia.
Bill is one of the few Australian (Melburnian!) artists that I know of, although that list is growing by the day. Check out his work on the internet, it is stunning.
Bill Henson – Girl in shadow
Bill Henson. floating girls series, 2000-2003
And this is my take on Bill – it is actually a candid photo of my neighbour Anne’s daughter Poppy. This was taken at our house during a bonfire night and Poppy was only lit by the outdoor tiki torches. She’s actually trying to ‘smoke’ a breadstick!
2) Artist – Cindy Sherman
One of the most revered photographers of the last 40+ years, Cindy Sherman’s schtick since the 1970s has been to take portraits of herself dressed up in various disguises with wigs, prosthetics and such, to create biting satirical works of art commenting on female stereotypes and male fantasies. Critics adore her and she is one of the very few women artists able to command milions of dollars for her work.
Her latest series – the metro pictures, are of rich ladies who lunch, the type you see in the pages of Town & Country or Tatler dressed in ballgowns while lounging about the house. She superimposes herself (dressed up as a tai-tai) on fake nouveau-riche style backdrops and layers on cheesy special effects. Quite daring when you consider that the pictures look exactly like the art patrons who collect her work.
My fake Cindy, complete with artificial hairpieces and Russian hooker make-up. Finn saw me all made up and asked “Mama, why do you look like a piggy?”?? Must have been all that pink blusher! My lecturer said that I could have pushed it a bit further with fake gel nails.
3) Artist – Sam Taylor-Wood
Ah, Sam. One of the first artists I heard of when I was studying in UK back in the late 90s. She’s quite the celebrity, the ex-wife of Jay Jopling, owner of the most famous gallery in London, White Cube, which championed Damien Hirst, the Chapman Bros et al. Now she’s pregnant with a 19 year old actor’s baby. You go girl.
Sam does intellectual installation, video art and photography and is known for her panoramic photographic friezes, the painterly Renaissance quality to her work and classical influences.
This is Sam’s photo – Soliloquy, which was her photographic remake of the very famous Henry Wallis painting “The Death of Chatterton” (1865) which portrays the suicide of a iconic English Poet.
And this is Mark Leahy Chatterton, wearing my reused Cindy Sherman wig. It was so hard to get the lighting right for this one. And the bloody wig kept on falling off too. Funnily enough, this was the photo that got the most praise – when I unveiled it, my classmates went “Whoa…. it’s the same guy!” and “We’ve seen your husband so often, we feel like he’s part of the class!”