Sometimes to be original, you need to draw inspiration from the past, as contradictory as that sounds. Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens did just that with an arresting series with his daughter Paula as his subject. What began as capturing childhood moments morphed into fascinating photographs in the style of seventeenth century Dutch paintings… with a modern twist. Kerstens recalls, “One day Paula came back from horseback riding. She took off her cap and I was struck by the image of her hair held together by a hair-net. It reminded me of the portraits by the Dutch masters and I portrayed her in that fashion. After that I started to do more portraits in which I refer to the paintings of that era. The thing that fascinates me in particular is the way a seventeenth-century painting is seen as a surface which can be read as a description of everyday life as opposed to the paintings of the Italian renaissance, which usually tell a story. Northern European painting relies much more on craftsmanship and the perfect rendition of the subject. The use of light is instrumental in this.” As are Paula’s placid, if not austere, facial expressions… so reminiscent of the work of Johannes Vermeer and other Dutch masters. Kerstens’s outstanding work can be found in museums and galleries around the world, and has inspired tastemakers as diverse as Elton John and Alexander McQueen.
Conceptually reminiscent of the work of Steve Payne (here)