Today I´m going to talk about Alexia Sinclair, a Digital Photographer, born in Newcastle in 1976 and formed as artist in Sidney where became Master in Fine Arts. She won Australian Fine Art Photographer award, ans since then she has exhibited in many numerous exhibitions including at the Australian Centre for Photography and the Art Gallery of NSW. She works with digital photography treating the images with digital software including many layers for each image.
In 2007 she presented her most acclaimed series of images called The Regal Twelve, where she took twelve important women of our History. Taking models for each photography she dressed each one to represent the historic women and later added several layers to contextualize the character in her location and time. There is a common element in each image, the beauty of the models, a way to sublimate the real characters she pretends to representate.
So, today I´m going to comment several images of this series. The first one, Isabel la Católica, Queen of Spain at the end of 15th century.
The character is a young woman with brown hair and ponytails, her face is make up with dark shadws surrounding the eyes, and she wears a beautiful stamped dress. No doubt, these elements are inventions, cause the Queen was really a very austere person. On the contrary, Alexia Sinclair has located the queen in a more realistic place: a medieval cloister, where we can see a retablo with a Madonna and saints, which is related with the religious feeling of the queen. Other elements talks about the characteristics of Isabel: she holds a caravel that represents the conquer of America. In the other hand she holds a rosary, another sigh of her christian devotion. There are also some books close to her, that symbolizes her fond of reading. We know Isabel la Católica had a very important collection of books as the important “Libro de Horas de Isabel la Católica”.
Another woman in the series is the Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the blood countess. She was born in Hungary in 1560 and died in 1614. I don´t know what is the reason to choose this woman, her only attribute is to be one of the first female serial killers of the History. She used to capture young maidens, to kill them with a knife and to take all their blood to take blood baths to stand always young. In the image we can see a sexy young countess who runs followed by a wolf, in a sexy pose, showing her leg. Her hair is mid brown mid red, her dress is composed by a red bodice, a blue skirt and a stole, and brings a rosary in her hand (this last element is opposite to the criminal spirit of this woman). The countess and the wolf runs through the fields, probably looking for a victim. Beside them we can see the Castle of Csetje, where she lived, but it doesn´t looks like the real castle of Elizabeth Bathory. There is also a very big moon in the sky, that means the countess is somekind of werewolf.
The last image I´m going to comment is Cleopatra. Cleopatra is surely one of the most sexy queens of the History and because of that the model chosen for the photography is the most congruent of the whole series. Alexia Sinclair is representing probably the death of the Queen, when she is bitten by the serpent. Her imagination let’s Cleopatra appears half naked dressing somekind of mesh that partially covers her body. More realistic is the crown Cleopatra wears on her head, I think with the feather, symbol of Maat, the Justice. Cleopatra is sat in a golden throne inside an aisle painted with Egyptian hieroglyphics.
All the images try to contrast historical elements with contemporary ones. The models, as I mentioned before, are on the contrary of the real persons represented in the series, which approximates the images more to a model photo session than a historical investigation. Anyway Alexia Sinclair uses perfectly the techniques of digital photography because she is able to integrate perfectly the different layers. She is able to present us some realistic non-realistic historical women.
You can see the whole series and other works of Alexia Sinclair here.