Head On at 107; Visual Arts Icons: Continued | Head On Photo Festival

Head On at 107; Visual Arts Icons: Continued


John Dobson

Festival Year :


Exhibition Description

This is a continuation of a series that originally appeared in Head On in 2016 and has been an ongoing personal project since 2006. In this series I reference visual arts icons. In all the examples, the original image spoke to me, remaining in my subconscious and I felt compelled to research, pay homage and to somehow photographically interpret or reinterpret the original work, while still capturing the essence of the original. It is an ongoing series because often I have to keep the image I am referencing at the back of my mind until I find the right model, location, work out how to source or make props and costumes.

As a photographer it is a way for me to understand the lighting, composition, production design, styling, mise-en-scene and colour palette that go into creating an image. Recreating a painting photographically, I am changing the medium and commenting on it. Sometimes for me that is enough of a shift in itself. In the process I examine the essence of the image, deconstruct it and discover what makes it iconic. Often I begin with the intention of recreating the image as truthfully as possible. Sometimes, however, either through necessity, accident or design I end up imposing my own angle and sense of irony into the shot.

My approach in interpreting these iconic images may vary from an almost faithful recreation of the original, translating paint to pixels to a more ironic approach such as my use of fake fruit instead the edible variety, while still paying meticulous attention to composition and design, lighting and colour palette. And the irony for me is that the fake variety still generates the same emotional response. The one consistent element in all these images besides my lighting, framing and composition and colour palette, which I try to replicate exactly, is my reverence for the original.

Curated by Sandy Edwards, Arthere

Artist Bio

Born in Melbourne, Australia, after graduating from school in Germany, I studied Graphic Design at Maidstone College of Art in the UK, where I first began taking photographs seriously, and then at the Royal College of Art in London. Returning to Australia, after spending most of the 1980s working as an advertising art director, then drifting off to pursue various other creative endeavours, I decided the spontaneity of photography and designing within the context of a photographic frame more suited to my temperament. Studying Graphic Design at Art College taught me lateral and conceptual thinking, a Diploma of Photography from Sydney TAFE Ultimo taught me the photographic technique I needed to successfully execute my concepts.

Artist(s) Social Media

Exhibition Space

Dates and Times

08 May 2019 to 19 May 2019

Open Hours

Opening Hours: 
Tuesday - Sunday:
11:00 am-5:00 pm

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