by Astrid Hermes
This is the most unfortunate way you could photograph the Night Watch by Rembrandt.
This is not a very technically perfect photo. The flash is glaring, the composition distorts and crops and skews the subject. This Rembrandt is shot like it’s leaving a nightclub, caught in the glare of a flash. A desecration of the canonical image.
You know how the Night Watch looks; it’s famous and available in intricate detail and very high resolution online. This is not a photograph of the Nightwatch.
Actually it’s a photo of a cheap small reproduction. The previous edition by Astrid, Palmtree, also was an image that was rephotographed. My first thought when looking for similar approaches by established artists was Richard Prince rephotographing / appropriating photographs.
But then I read about Gerhard Richter: ‘…in painting photographs he draws out the differences between the two mediums and discovered the strengths of the medium of painting.’
I argue that Astrid in these images similarly is looking for the essence of the medium of photography by photographing other images: how do notions of space and realism, objectivity and movement differ between the subject-image and the photograph?
The Night Watch is famous for its innovative composition, movement and lighting. These elements also make this photo, in an entirely different way. In the end it pays homage to the Nightwatch.
What's in the download?
The edition contains the full sized PSD and JPG file at 3106 x 2070 pixels, a PDF with more information on the edition and the artist as well as a personal signed digital certificate of authenticity. As a reference the download also contains a high resolution image of the original Nightwatch painting by Rembrandt from the Rijksmuseum.
Astrid Hermes was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and still lives and works there.
Her early work won her third place in the prestigious Prix the Rome competition, It featured human bodies, often naked, in strange postures and without showing the face, which showed us something about the person being portrayed which was more like an attitude or a mood than a portrait. In the later photographs of Astrid Hermes the people are no longer physically present; objects and empty spaces seem to be filled with stories, charged with a laden or melancholic presence. She has exhibited in the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Indonesia and the USA.