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Homage to E.P., 1968

Thomas Francis Barrow

American, 1938-
Gelatin silver print
Image: 9-1/2 x 12-15/16 in. (24.1 x 32.9 cm); Paper: 9-9/16 x 13-3/8 in. (24.3 x 34.0 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist
© Thomas F. Barrow

Not on view

Throughout the history of photography, artists have used the medium to portray actors in their most recognizable roles. A function of marketing as well as self-promotion, these portraits necessarily confuse the conventional goal of portraiture: the identification of an individual. Here, Thomas Barrow’s multilayered gelatin silver print presents this same issue. The photographer captures Emma Peel, the fictional protagonist of the popular television show The Avengers. A transparent close-up of the actress Diana Rigg, who played Peel, is caught directly from the artist’s screen and laid over an image of a television and a landscape. The dominance of Rigg’s face and the moody lighting suggest a Hollywood glamour portrait of the actress. At the same time, the streaks of the screen that make up her face, along with the direct reference to the television at left, reinforce the image’s artifice and replication.

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