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Show of Christopher Little Photographs at Infinity Bistro Gallery

 

By Ruth Melville

Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to be immortalized by a famous artist—Rubens, say, or Velázquez?

That’s obviously not going to happen, but photographer Christopher Little has come close to realizing that dream in his latest project.

His idea was that, by playing around with photography and Photoshop, he could put the faces of his friends and neighbors into Old Master paintings or onto a classical bust. His intention is “purely humorous,” he says, and the pictures are indeed very funny. The joke comes in the tiny jolt of recognition when you realize that the voluptuous Eve enticing Adam with an apple is someone you see Saturday mornings at the farmers market.

It takes away the surprise if you know in advance who the people are, so we’re not naming names here. You’ll have to see the show to find out. Little has created about 40 of these new/old photographs, and he’s tried to include all sorts of people.

The actual photography only takes about 10 minutes. Little studies the original painting and then tries to mimic the light and the angle of the face. Using Photoshop, he imports his photograph of the person’s face into the old master painting and makes the necessary adjustments, scaling it to fit and tweaking the color. A process called “masking” lets him control the opacity of the face, so he can overlay part of the real face over the painted one. The whole process takes him about two to three hours.

The result of this skillful work is uncanny. No matter how hard you look, your eye can’t tease apart the new from the old; they meld seamlessly and invisibly.

The opening reception of Little’s show is 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, during WIN weekend. There will be an artist’s talk and dinner on Sunday, August 27, at 5:30. For reservations (required) to the dinner, call 860-542-5531.

Photo, top, of Christopher Little as a marquis, by Christopher Little.

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