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What Old-Master Portraits Look Like On A Turntable

How much information do our brains need to recognize a Van Eyck or Holbein? Remarkably little–just a blur of red cloth or a swipe of hair will do. It’s surprisingly easy to pick out the masterpieces in Tamir Sher’s clever little series, Masters on 45s, which shows the canonical works spinning on the bed of a record player.

“I took my old record player and decide to use it in my work before I threw it away,” explains the Israeli photographer. “I put a reproduction of an old masters paintings and my son’s super heroes on it and took pictures at variable speeds.” At 33 and 45 RPMs, Holbein and Dürer look like they’ve been wiped in vaseline, or ruined with water damage. Distilled into their most essential parts, Raphael’s Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione turns out to be all about the beard, while Gauguin’s Two Tahitian Women is, somewhat predictably, all about nipples.

“My wish is to create work that allows the viewer a new way of understanding and interpreting phenomena,” the photographer explains. “I investigate how the low-tech record player connects and mixes between old and contemporary to create new representational modes.” Sher names a surprisingly broad number of influences, ranging from Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto to Don DeLillo, who uses “a wide angle view, mixing layers of subjects to achieve an epic scene.”

Each of the photos is for sale on Sher’s website–or, if you’ve got an old turntable, you could always make your own.

[H/t Visual News]