Art History · Living Artists · Recommended Links · Spotlight on Artists

Portrait of the Artist’s Daughter

"The Merchant's Daughter" by Bill Gekas
“The Merchant’s Daughter” by Bill Gekas © Bill Gekas Photography (billgekas.com)

Australian photographer Bill Gekas has been getting a lot of attention recently. His work has been featured everywhere from Buzzfeed to The Magazine Antiques, and I think I’ll give him some press here as well. Gekas’s work consists of portraits of his young daughter dressed up and posed in the style of Old Master paintings.

“Cameo” by Bill Gekas © Bill Gekas Photography (billgekas.com)

I can absolutely see why people are so interested in him. His work is charming and clever, and it shows a knowledge of and appreciation for the old masters that really appeals to me. Staging photographs to look like famous paintings is not new, but I think Gekas brings something special to it. A lot of the photographs’ appeal comes from his adorable little girl, who looks like she’s having a lot of fun but also seems to take this more seriously than you would expect. She has a great presence on camera — better than most grown-ups would. The tremendous time and effort Gekas obviously puts into creating these great sets and capturing something of the old masters’ painterly qualities make these photographs standouts as well. While it is never in question that these are 21st-century photographs rather than old paintings, they have a timeless, almost otherworldly quality. None of the photos are direct copies of specific paintings. They are inspired by the old masters rather than appropriations of them, so don’t look through your art history books to find the “real” versions of these, though you may find some of the works Gekas was most inspired by.

“The Scholar” by Bill Gekas © Bill Gekas Photography (billgekas.com)

When you visit Bill’s website, also check out his blog, where he sometimes chooses specific photos to discuss in greater detail. And of course, be sure to view the rest of his amazing work here.

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