Monday, April 15, 2013

Religious Simulacra

Religion, Religion, Religion 

Religious Imagery

Religious Imagery has been used and over-used for almost any purpose that might not even be religious. The phenomena that interests me is the power these images might have over people. Artists have been inspired by religion, or I dare to argue, Religion has been inspired by art. One way or the other, religious imagery and iconography have been expressed through different media such as the 12th Century Italian painting of the Virgin Mary (The Madonna as Advocate), to the 2002 high-definition video inspired bythe representation of the placing of Jesus Christ in the tomb, Emergence, by Bill Viola (you can find the video here: YouTube).

An interesting phenomena occurs when religious images are reproduced in various and infinite ways. The images become the "real" thing and not what they represent. Jean Baudrillard's Simulations develops this concept further.

I originally wanted to capture the idea that a portrait of religious figure becomes that which it is trying to represent. In other words, a portrait of the Virgin Mary becomes the Virgin Mary in the sense that people attribute sentimental and some times spiritual value to such portrait. One of many examples if the painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe which is now The "Mother of the Americas" (Latin America) and holds more than a religious value, becoming a religion of its own or a cult where the Virgin of Guadalupe is more important than the Catholic God Himself.

In the following still I tried to convey the idea that any picture can become the "real" representation of the Virgin Mary as long as the right conditions (institutionalized propaganda from the Vatican, a religious narrative, and a group of faithful worshipers) were presented.

Here is my first attempt to capture the New Holy Virgin Mary:

Holy Virgin Mary's Secret
Model: Katy Abdul

Pictures in:
Flickr

To be honest it did not work. There could not be found any relationship with Virgin Mary so I had to take a new set of pictures. 

I stumbled upon a picture of Miles Aldrige that inspired me and gave me a new direction. 
  ImmaculĂ©e by Miles Aldrige

I captured images that spoke on my behalf, but the images themselves have a language of their own and are not limited to my own interpretation. 

So here is my second attempt to capture my version of Virgin Mary:


Holy Mother Virgin Mary
Model: Katy Abdul

Pictures in:
Flickr

14 comments:

  1. you are invited to follow my blog

    ReplyDelete
  2. The finished product is amazing Alfredo! You did a fantastic job of capturing everything you were going for in the final photograph. I think one of my favorite parts is the color scheme that you have going on here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Amber. It was quite a process, but I am happy with the final product. I would admit that the lighting and color scheme are my favorite parts of the stills. Yet they are all important as a whole. Thank you for your feedback. :)

      Delete
  3. I really like how this turned out. I do know know that much about virgin Mary images but from what I have seen the final image really reminds me of what I know. I found it to be a very interesting critique of the religious images.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks man, I think we all can relate one way or another to religious imagery since it is everywhere whether you are religious or not. Thank you for your feedback.

      Delete
  4. Alfredo, your work is truly captivating! You can follow my blog too. ;) I appreciate that you display your process on this post...from your first set of images, to the last, which uses characteristics of the iconic image of Mary. Your final set of images seems to strike at the heart of all which you are trying to convey. It comments on modern technology, nature vs. human, and really encourages the viewer to explore their original interpretations of the virgin. You da best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Shea! I will follow you... :P on Blog. I appreciate your comment.

      Delete
  5. like everyone mentioned, it is amazing how your work turned out!
    Honestly at first your draft image did not speak to me that much,,,,, but the final one is very stunning. The way you placed the artificial objects nicely represented your idea!
    And it looks very good!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Xian. It took a while to develop the idea to where it is now. There is room for improvement but I think it came out nice.

      Delete
  6. Hi Alfredo -- I think you captured the concept very clearly in this project. You said "that a portrait of religious figure becomes that which it is trying to represent" and I think that the shifting of representation to 'real' comes across strongly with your end product. As you said earlier, this wasn't as clear in the beginning, but I think the comparison of first images to final product shows how important it is to keep developing ideas! Keep developing as an artist/photographer...I look forward to the rest of your projects this term!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've a PROFOUND REAL naturally formed simulacra of Mary holding baby Jesus.. Its on stone weighing hundreds of pounds.. I'm looking for a good "caretaker".. Probably a church.. Many have prayed with it, seeking blessing.. Please email me of websites, etc. where I may blog of this.. Thank you

    ReplyDelete