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Artist’s Model, Commercial Art Revived (C1905)

Artist’s Model, Commercial Art Revived (C1905)


There’s something about old fashion, promotional
and advertising photography that really excites me as an artist.
A lot of Photography is all about capturing that one crucial moment in time. This can
be photographing either a highly significant historical event or a more personal, but equally
precious, moment such as a family portrait. All of that’s very important, obviously,
but I truly love the concept of disposable art. I love an entire photography shoot being
created for one advert, or for a greetings card or for any other purpose which will be
quickly forgotten a few weeks later. It’s like those ghosts of old advertising signs
you sometimes see painted on the walls of old buildings. You look up at them and you
can still see the faint letters dutifully advertising gramophones or some other antique
product or service, long after the company and product are gone.
I love to select a photograph which was never meant to be remembered and revitalise it for
a new audience. Context is everything in art, a lot of old photographs such as this one
exist without original context and purpose but still exist as beautiful photographs in
their own right. The debate of the value of commercial art
is unlikely to ever go away but it’s truly fascinating for me to see commercial art have
‘the commercial’ stripped away from it. What truly is the difference between one portrait
done for purely artistic reasons and one created to sell a product if not the Coca-Cola logo
being in the corner? If these logos are removed, what do we have left if not art? From a colouring standpoint this is the kind
of picture that I feel horrified to discover, as I immediately see the massive potential
in converting it to colour but also I know how many hours I’m going to have to devote
to precision colouring work. The majority of the time on this photograph was spent colouring
the small details on the sheet she’s wrapped in. It’s very much just a case of putting
on a podcast and settling in to work, there’s no real way of automating the process. When you do black and white photography in
the colour photography era, you have to get into the mind-set of ignoring the colour when
you take a photograph. You may find a truly beautiful flower, made up of multiple colours
but you realise none of that colour information will be captured.
Therefore you find yourself focussing on interesting patterns and contrast instead. I find it interesting
that a studio photographer would have chosen these props for her to pose with due to their
patterns and shapes and not paid any attention to the differences in colour. My goal is always
to try and capture the moment in time of the photograph being taken, to freeze that moment
as it would have looked outside of the camera. Therefore I decided to emphasise the potential
difference in colours for the props that would have been in the studio.
The original purpose of this photograph may be lost forever but the photograph itself
continues to sell itself over 100 years after it was taken. The time you’ve spent looking
at it today is proof of that fact. I really enjoyed the opportunity to bring
life to this long forgotten photograph. If you enjoyed this video, giving it a like would
be very much appreciated. Also if you’d like to subscribe I have even more timelapses
and tutorials planned for the future. Until then, thank you very much for watching.

2 thoughts on “Artist’s Model, Commercial Art Revived (C1905)

  1. Amazing video! the sheet you did looks amazing in colour, not to mention how the skin tone looks perfect. I did something
    similar to the sheet she was wearing in the hats of the women in this colourisation I did https://www.reddit.com/r/Colorization/comments/cl9iw1/african_american_men_and_women_posed_for_portrait/, although it took a long time it really did paid of in the end.

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