Friday, 16 March 2012

Classic to Modern & Context

After looking at a variety of different styles of interpretations of famous pieces in my sketchbook I think I've come to the conclusion that I would like to try an achieve a "classic to modern" photograph. I've been trying to look in detail at the context of the pictures and noticed that these mainly fit into 3 categories: keeping the same context of the piece but modernising it, changing the context entirely but still keeping the context clear, and having no obvious context at all. I would definitely like there to be a clear context and story to my photograph whether it is related to the original context of the painting or not. I think I can't be sure until I actually go to the National Gallery and National Portrait Galley tomorrow and get a feel for what sort of painting I want to use, as at the moment the only thing I know is that I want a piece I am able to modernise. 

I've looked at quite a lot of "classic to modern" interpretations and these are my two favourite examples in terms of the very different approaches to context. 

American Gothic - Updated Context
This is possibly my favourite photographer's interpretation for so many reasons. Obviously the purpose of this piece is to use the same feel and context of Grant Wood's original piece but give it a very modern alternative feel. I think that the execution is brilliant. Every detail has been thought about, from the positioning of the characters, the facial expressions, to the peaked building behind. The costume choices, though very simple, have obviously been incredibly carefully selected, as the black sleeves of the male's top mirror the shirt and jacket of Wood's piece, and the combination of the necklace and neckline of her top do the same as an equivalent of the old fashioned dress. The piece is effectively a very simple take on Wood's piece though every small thought-through detail really makes this piece work.

Jesse John Hunniford
Grant Wood
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp - Context Change
I absolutely love the approach to this interpretation of Rembrandt's famous piece. By changing the context of the piece entirely she's made the piece really comical and an enjoyable interpretation to view. Iris Encina Baranda has taken this beautiful but morbid painting and used the people and shapes to recreate it as a man being tattooed. Though I feel not perfect in its placement of people and expression, the brilliant idea behind it is what makes this piece quite successful. I know that this kind of a context change to a painting would be more difficult to achieve successfully, firstly for coming up with a good enough idea and then secondly executing it focusing on shape and colour to make it a perfect match. If I can come up with a good enough idea I would prefer to try an attempt a strong context change, though I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow!

Iris Encina Baranda

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