Lichtaffen Atomicus

Our second six-week project this term was to recreate a studio photograph, then make an interpretation of that image. I chose Philippe Halsman‘s jumping pictures, and made I think an ok recreation of this image of Marilyn Monroe (I haven’t checked whether the model minds me putting the image online yet). This was my interpretation:

Lichtaffen Atomicus

It’s an homage to Dali Atomicus, based around Albert Einstein’s nickname for photographers as ‘lichtaffen’ – german for ‘light monkeys’. The Einstein image is by Halsman too.

I kept friends and family up until late on a Sunday night trying to take this shot. I had my mother holding the chair, Abi throwing beads from one side, Ben throwing monkeys from the other and Dad trying to press the shutter at just the right moment. The project had to be on film, so we took about 70 shots on digital to get roughly consistent results, then 36 ‘blind’ shots on black & white film. My legs caved in a few shots from the end!

None of the shots came out quite as I wanted – in the above you can’t see the camera around my neck and the yellow beads are covering a little too much of Einstein – but there are so many variables that something’s always dodgy, and I’m happy with the end result. The final black and white print is different – I’ll get the negative scanned in at some point – but similar enough to the above that you get the idea.

We had the critical assessment yesterday and people seemed to like it, which was nice. I liked someone’s description of it as a ‘box of madness’ 🙂
Other final shot possibilities are here, and outtakes here. Thanks to everyone who helped with this – no way I could have done it without you!