Aline Smithson is an award-winning photographer, with a series of various impressive photographic work. Her Arrangement in Grey and Black (Portrait of the Photographer’s Mother), is a study on Whistler’s famous painting, starring his mother. In Smithson’s series, stars her mother, we watch a humorous, brilliant dialogue unfolds, as the photographer dresses up her mother in characters, decorating the room in different ways.
As she explains on her website, “This series had serendipitous beginnings. I found a small print of Whistler’s painting, at a neighborhood garage sale. The same weekend, I found a leopard coat and hat, a 1950’s cat painting, and what looked like the exact chair from Whistler’s painting. That started me thinking about the idea of portraiture, the strong compositional relationships going on within Whistler’s painting, and the evocative nature of unassuming details. The series incorporates traditional photography techniques, yet becomes richer with the treatment of hand painting. It is my intent to have the viewer see the work in a historical context with the addition of color, and at the same time, experience Whistler’s simple, yet brilliant formula for the composition. My patient 85 year-old mother posed in over 20 ensembles, but unfortunately passed away before seeing the finished series. I am grateful for her sense of humor and the time this series allowed us to be together.”
All images © Aline Smithson