Marc Boom’s interest in Vincent van Gogh was always like the interest he took in other great painters of Van Gogh’s era. However, that changed in his third year of photography school.
The assignment was simple, study a Rembrandt painting, the light, subject, shadows, and other details; then recreate. No matter how appealing Marc found the Rembrandt paintings or how much he appreciated the artist’s mastery, the work did not ignite a creative spark. Instead, he found himself pulled to Vincent van Gogh— fascinated by the man always in his head and the way he saw his subjects. So, he chose to recreate a Van Gogh work instead.
He did not know it then, but this choice would begin the journey of recreating a Van Gogh photo portrait series and play a significant role in his photography career. Marc did know that photographic reinterpretations of paintings by a world-renowned painter could be an epic failure. Although his mind had mostly convinced him that defeat was likely, his soul wouldn’t let go. He pursued his newfound passion through successful execution time and time again, earning him recognition from prominent museums in the Netherlands and beyond.
Marc Boom’s Unique Approach
Often photographers try to create exact replicas of the known or create a representation of the future fantastical. With the Van Gogh series, Marc takes a different approach. Instead of using technology to generate something entirely new or exact replicas, he explores the space between Van Gogh’s and his style. To Marc, this approach is necessary to truly honor Van Gogh’s creativity but does add a layer of depth and difficulty to each undertaking.
Similar to Van Gogh’s subjects who were people he interacted with, Marc’s models for his Van Gogh series have all been family and friends. Marc doesn’t seek models that are literal representations of Van Gogh’s original subjects. Instead, he searches for individuals who can recreate specific expressions. To Marc, the emotions of the model are the essential detail needed to produce work.
Though we live in an era of invention and advancement, Marc finds that it is necessary to use modern innovations judiciously. He balances it with natural elements to hone a work that contains his unique originality and pays homage to Van Gogh’s mastery.
Persistence, Patience, and Passion
Marc’s projects take months of preparation. He spends hours reviewing each Van Gogh work he uses in his photo portrait series. He observes the details, takes notes, and begins drafting ideas. Then he moves to find models, clothes, suitable photo locations, and creating the backgrounds.
When all the elements are in place, Marc with support from a team of assistants, make-up artists, and hairstylists strive to bring each work to like. Of course, things don’t always go as planned.
Sometimes, even though they feel is right, replicating crucial elements can be challenging, particularly in impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Even more so for Van Gogh’s work as he had such a unique style. Sometimes this requires a bit of letting go like being satisfied with something that looks like a mailman’s cap from 1888. Other times, this means the creative use of photo editing software to help things along. Like taking a photo and using software to reflect the image, so elements are on the right side of the image.
From Dream to Reality
Marc Boom’s work is a culmination of willingness to dream, the courage to challenge himself, constant critical reflection, and the desire to explore. Through continually honing his skill and precision, he has created a distinctive photo portrait series that has earned him attention and honor. To date, his Vincent van Gogh photo portrait series includes, “La Berceuse”, “La Mousmé”, “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe”, “Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin”, “LuitenantMilliet”, PortraitofaWomanwithaRedRibbon” and “Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat”.
In 2016, Marc won the yearly portrait prize from DigiFoto Pro Magazine for his photo portrait of Van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear”. In 2017 his photo portrait series was exhibited during the Dutch Film Festival in honor film-loving Vincent.
His work has also exhibited in museums and art galleries in Germany and Spain and most recently appeared in the Hendrick Hamel Museum in Gorinchem, Netherlands. The Van Gogh Foundation found his work such an honor to Van Gogh; they asked Marcato to exhibit his photo portraits in the Van Gogh Church Etten-Leurwhere Van Gogh’s father was a minister and Vincent started his career. Next year the exhibition will go to Madrid.
Marc Boom, the photographer with the gift for balancing technology, depth, and originality, is making big waves. His works surpass revisioning Vincent van Gogh’ssubjectsand seeks to explore the spirit of the man. Much in the way Van Gogh’s letters provide a glimpse into his soul, Marc aims to share his soul through his photo portrait series.
You can witness his work firsthand in his exhibition “Closer to Van Gogh” by Marc Boom, Van Gogh Church, Etten-Leur, The Netherlands. September 25 until December 23, 2019.
More information here: http://bit.ly/closertovangogh
Just Mad Art Fair, Palacio Neptuno, Madrid, Spain. February 27 until March 1, 2020. More info: https://justmad.es
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