In what some may call an intense display of fan love that goes beyond your run-of-the-mill yaoi fan art, photographer Sandro Miller has recreated dozens of beloved photographs captured by photographers whom he credits with influencing his own work within the medium. But Miller (who “has been photographing people for over thirty years,” according to his official website) has a sense of humor; instead of just recreating each shot outright, he has enlisted the help of actor John Malkovich (whom film buffs know best as kooky conspiracy theorist Marvin Boggs in the RED film series and, well, himself in Spike Jonze’s 1999 quirky comedy Being John Malkovich) to pose as each photograph’s subject.
And the subjects range greatly in size, shape, and form. From blond bombshell actress-slash-sex icon Marilyn Monroe in Andy Warhol’s Green Marilyn and Bert Stern’s Marilyn In Pink Roses to Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guervara in Alberton Korda’s profile shot of the guerilla leader to Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker in a series of photos taken by Herb Ritts to even the weary-eyed mother holding her two children in Dorothea Lange’s Great Depression-era Migrant Mother, Malkovich portrays all of the emotion seen and felt in the original shots while Miller packs every detail from those shots into his recreations, resulting in a series of intensely loyal and loving but fun and light-hearted renditions. And surprise: according to the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago—the gallery that will host Miller and Malkovich’s series—absolutely no Photoshop, airbrushing, or photo-editing of any sort went into the photos. Every shadow, loose hair, and age spot were painstakingly recreated via the joint efforts of the two with absolute attention to the placement of every element in the original photos. (In fact, the reason why Miller approached Malkovich to join him in undergoing the heedy task was because of Malkovich’s wide range of talent noted ability for playing a large variety of roles.)
Miller’s work has been featured in several media campaigns hosted by internationally famous companies such as Dove, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Adidas. His main professional relationship, though, is with camera brand Nikon, whom he often promotes and whose latest products he has helped introduce into the professional photography scene. It was through Nikon that the photographer met Malkovich, with whom he worked on a photo shoot in Croatia. Miller’s apparent interest in the movement of motorcycles led him to start filming his own film shorts. His first short, entitled Joy Ride, followed a motorcyclist navigating the streets of Chicago early one morning. In the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the photographer-turned-director earned a Best New Director award for another short called Butterflies, which starred his old accomplice Malkovich.
The exhibit, which Miller has named Malkovich, Malkovich, and Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters, will run from November 7th of this year to January 31, 2015. French media publications 7-POST and Liberation will run exclusive interviews with Malkovich concerning his participation in the project on October 3rd and October 11th,, respectively, of this year.
Until then, you can view scaled-down scans of the photos on the Catherine Edelman Gallery’s official website.