Film Noir: The Paintings

CompanyKyprisAthina Pictures
PhotographerRebecca Forster
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

This series, inspired by famous paintings, is part of my long term photography project “Film Noir”, a journey through media and a request for more diversity. Through the project I want to challenge people’s perception and expectations and make them ask questions to themselves: When do we label someone as Black or White? How much are skin color and origin (place of birth, parents, social status, financial situation, education …) related in our mind? How strongly are our expectations towards someone influenced by skin color? How important is skin color in our daily life? The main idea behind the “Paintings” part of the project is that skin color should become much more secondary to art, as in most cases the story can be told – and recognized - just as well by any actor or model, no matter if White or Black.

Story

Imagine you are a photographer or movie director, and are looking for the right cast: If you want someone to play the role of a fairy tale princess, who are you most likely to pick? Who will you pick for the role of a proud tribal queen? What is more likely, that your model or actress will be Black, or that she will be White? Imagine you are this actress or model, who will be taken or not be taken. Imagine that you are a little kid who watches these movies or sees these photos. What do you think: Will it make a difference to your life, if all childhood heroes or heroines either have or have not the same skin color as you? This series, inspired by famous paintings, is part of my long term photography project “Film Noir”, a journey through media (paintings, fashion magazines, movies …) and a request for more diversity in art; through the project I want to challenge people’s perception and expectations, playing with reversed roles: Black people play the roles typically offered to White people by media, and also the other way round. By looking at these photos, I want people to ask questions to themselves: When do we label someone as Black or White? How much are skin color and origin (place of birth, parents, social status, financial situation, education …) related in our mind? How strongly are our expectations towards someone influenced by skin color? How important is skin color in our daily life? Unfortunately, racism still is not dead, neither is exoticism. The main idea behind the “Paintings” part of the project is that skin color should become much more secondary to art, as in most cases the story can be told – and recognized - just as well by any actor or model, no matter if White or Black (or “colored” otherwise). Additional information on the single photos: 01 ‘Holy Mother’ was inspired both by recent fashion photography and various paintings by Sandro Botticelli. 02 ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ is based on Vermeer’s famous painting of the young girl with exotic turban. 03 ‘Titania’ was inspired by Shakespeare’s fairy queen and by the figures of Venus and Spring in Botticelli’s painting “Primavera”; I’ve used parts of this painting as a collage. 04 ‘L’état c’est moi’ was inspired by various French and German royal paintings, especially the one of Louis XIV of France (painted by Rigaud) and by the king’s famous quote: “The state, that’s me!” 05 La Gioconda (the jocund) is based on Da Vinci’s happily and mysteriously smiling Mona Lisa. [Models: Miss Florence with her daughter (1,3,4) and Jenni (2,5)]

About Photographer

Rebecca Forster, born 1986, is an autodidactic freelance photographer, focused on fine art, storytelling and conceptual work. One of her key motifs is identity under the shadow of prejudice and role expectation. Inspiration she finds through personal experiences, travelling, paintings, mythology, literature, movies and her studies in philosophy and classical languages.