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Photo Recreations of Classical Works of Art

Updated on September 23, 2015
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.

Inspired by "Girl With a Pearl Earring" by Johannes Vermeer

Used by permission from the artist
Used by permission from the artist | Source

"In a contest last month, popular art blog called for submission from readers asking them to recreate classical work of art using photography. Scores of people stepped up to the challenge, restaging iconic paintings by artists like Leonardo DaVinci, Sandro Botticelli and Van Gogh. Some took great pains to create the scenes paying attention to the very last detail, while others opted to modernize the classics. Some remakes are breathtaking while others are humorous."

There have been photographers who have recreated some of the most famous works of art with their photographs in the past so this is nothing new, yet it remains a very fun and conceptually challenging work to undertake.

If you are creative, want a challenge and really want to push yourself, then perhaps taking on this type of project is for you.

Although it can take time to creatively and accurately recreate the scene from a painting or even a sculpture, the joy that comes from the countless hours trying to get every detail right and set up a scene that mimics a well known work of art makes it a joy when you see the finished product and know that all your hard work and dedication paid off.

Even better is when the photos capture the essence of the art work and when others looking at your photograph can accurately tell what work of art is being represented.

The main bulk of the project is to research what work of art will be your target subjects from which you will derive the inspiration for your photographic creation.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to such a project; the first one is to accurately do you best and recreate as much realism in the photographs as you can in regards to the original.

The other is to add a humorous twist and perhaps use subjects that do not resemble those in the original but in a way tries to mimic the poses, the location and so on.

Either way it is still a worth while project and keep in mind that half the fun is the work that goes into trying to emulate the work of the "old masters".

This is not always easy, since there are inherent differences in texture, styles and many other challenges that do separate one art form from the other.

Public Domain
Public Domain | Source
CC BY-ND 2.0
CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source

Would you attempt such a project?

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Once you have selected which work of art to recreate, make sure to annotate the details such as who created it, the materials used, the date of creation and some of its history.

Pay attention to the angles and perspectives used, the light and how it works the scene and very important is what was the original author trying to accomplish; was it just a pleasing piece done for a client (which was very common) or was the intention to show us a scene with a more transcendental meaning behind it like some of the works of Michelangelo or Leonardo da vinci?

These facts will make the viewing experience more interactive and interesting for your photo viewing audience.

When you display your photographs it is a good idea to show them side by side with a photograph of the original art work. It makes it easier for your audience to compare the results.

Do not overlook how you show your pictures. If the original was mounted on an elegant wooden frame than try to do the same.

You are going for realism and paying attention to every detail of the original helps.

Inspired by "The Kitchen Maid" by Johannes Vermeer

Used by permission from the artist
Used by permission from the artist | Source

"The Kitchen Maid"

public domain
public domain | Source

As a side project, besides photographing your work a good idea is to make a video of the entire process showing the various stages of the set up and including pictures of the original and your recreation.

Try to use a You tube format. The video will not only gain you added exposure but may provide you with a viable source of extra income.

Post your work of a web site or blog to also increase your exposure.

If you are serious about the work you can also create photographic themes focusing on the project and offer them to clients when they want a different experience for any planned event, even a wedding.

Like the project featured on Booooooom and the work of Bill Gekas, the resulting photographs can be used by photo related publications, on blogs, on eBooks and other commercial applications as well.

This type of photography can start to gain you a reputation for creativity which may in turn launch your name, as well as your work, out there.

You can be the greatest photographer in the planet but if no one sees your work you may as well not do it.

Even if your cup of tea is other styles, projects such as this one provides you with an opportunity to practice your skills and think out of the box.

Take advantage of as many projects as you can and emulate the works of others in order to learn new ways of photographing.

© 2014 Luis E Gonzalez


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