Historic and Mythical Imagery

Historic and Mythical Imagery

So what is this blog all about?  Well its called The “Historic and Mythical Imagery group” because it is made up of a group of creative people who love Historic and Mythical themes.  I know that a few of them probably wish they had lived in a different time.

As a group our aim is to recreate either famous works of art, or to make an interpretation of something mythical where we can find locations, make costumes and enjoy the whole creative process.  The people involved and who will star in the images are mainly local to Newcastle upon Tyne.  We will on occasion invite guests to either help make up the numbers or even take centre stage.  So why do this?  What is the point of trying to recreate something that can not be improved?  Well they do say that copying is the sincerest form of flattery.  We are paying homage to great works of art from around the world and not hurting anyone.  Everyone we talk to agrees it a great idea so why not.   The process involves reverse engineering the lighting.  What does this mean?  Well an artist will decide where the light is going to come from when a painting is being prepared.  To make it beautiful the light may spill from a window which is also part of the image.  The important consideration is that the light appears to illuminate parts of the image that are in line creating shadows in areas that are not.  to make the light look natural then an angle that would be true to the sun light is also important.  In some cases the light introduced to a painting is clearly from an artificial light source such as a candle or fire.  The same rules apply, they are introducing tonal variation or, light and shade.  The term painting with light is often used in relation to photography and in truth it is a fact that the quality of light and angle of light can be what separates good image from great image.

So in terms of photography when the natural ambiant light is not good or when it’s just not where you want it, we can introduce artificial light and recreate anything we want.  We are now effectly painting with light.   So the term reverse engineering simple refers to the process of analysing an image and working out how the artist effectly placed the lighting.

So to return to the original question the motivation behind this blog is to try and produce beautiful creative images that people enjoy.  There is no financial motivation to this endeavour.  Sometimes as a photographer I want to simply be creative and enjoy setting up an image.  I enjoy experimenting with lighting and seeing what can be achieved.  The group is made up of a number of very interesting and creative people.  Some are actors, some simply fascinated by history and love to work with mediaeval food and costumes.  The names are going to be listed within this blog.  Without the input of these people there would be no group so they are very important to me.   Up for a real challenge the first image we recreated was Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last supper our version created on 23 August 2017.

Thanks in particular to David Silk manager at the Castle Keep in Newcastle upon Tyne.  David kindly allowed access to the castles large hall to recreate the image below.

What I learned from this first try to was that reverse engineering the lighting to recreate the mood of the original painting was not too difficult.  getting people into the correct position was a different story.  So here is the first image hope someone out there likes it.

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