Somewhere between homage and redefining an iconic image I found myself taking my favorite photographs and recreating them in my own style. Like David Hilliard with my recent, "Tests" of my room mates in their rooms to my recreation of Albert Watson's Monkeys With Masks.
The original concept for Chris' With Masks was the focus on facial expression and I wanted to label each facial expression with its scientific term, like a person smiling matched with the text, Zygomaticus Major, or a frown matched with, Currugator Supercilii. These terms are rarely heard but are the result of scientific studying of the psychology of man. These expressions transcend culture and race because they are human behavior, an instinctual response. Albert Watson took a couple of monkeys from the New York Zoo into a studio and had them act themselves but with masks over their faces and pants over their legs. Watson was trying to personify these monkeys with similarities between Man and Animal. So when I thought of this image when I was thinking of studying facial expression I thought of how Watson presented his "Monkeys With Masks" photograph. So I had my room mate reinact each expression from the original "Monkeys With Masks" to bridge the gap between Man and Animal. Three hours later and two rolls of t-max we had all the images done in no time leaving me with a couple of weeks to recreate the piece in an analog form. This was a lot harder than I had thought it would be, and though lighting Chris similarly as Watson's piece was fairly easy, the analog post-production I challenged over to pay proper homage to Watson. In the end I recreated it digitally and boy was it a big sucka, at 1.8 gbs and big enough for a billboard.
Even to this day I find it fascinating on how similar these monkeys are to a human specimen.