Fake Family Portraits From the Art World
Self-Portrait with Laurie Simmons at her home in New York. © Chandler Holmes
Throughout college, Chandler Holmes took a lot of photos of his family. When he applied to graduate school, one of his interviewers suggested that he continue this trend by flying back and forth to visit them, an expensive proposition for a student already coping with tuition and other living expenses. “I’d hate for you to have to get a surrogate family,” the interviewer said when Holmes balked at the idea. The idea of using a different family seemed a bit far-fetched but it stuck with him, and a few months into school he began to explore ways to create a project about family that didn’t revolve around his own.
Self-Portrait with Melissa Ann Pinney and her daughter at their home in Illinois. © Chandler Holmes
“I initially thought I would photograph myself with another family in the same way I had done that with my own family,” Holmes said to Slate. “And I decided I wanted [the family] to be an artist because I’m interested in the art world and what that means.”
Self-Portrait with Larry Fink at his home in Pennsylvania. © Chandler Holmes
He first met with the photographer Eileen Cowin, photographing her at home. But when he looked at the portrait he realized that he also needed to be in it so he photoshopped himself into a framed photograph resting on her bookshelf. “It reminded me of something a proud art mom would have on her wall,” he said.
Self-Portrait with Sage Sohier at her home in Massachusetts. © Chandler Holmes
He thought about going back to take another portrait of Cowin in which he were also present but decided instead to photograph himself with the subjects in all the portraits moving foward.
Self-Portrait with Eileen Cowin at her home in California. © Chandler Holmes
For the most part, the artists leave the staging of the images up to Holmes, although a few of them have presented him with their ideas of where or how the photographs should be taken. Holmes also thought about emulating each photographer’s work but decided against it, feeling it was important to create his own brand of images.
Self-Portrait with James Casebere and his daughter on vacation in California. © Chandler Holmes
Self-Portrait with Jo Ann Walters and her partner at their home in Connecticut. © Chandler Holmes
Self-Portrait with Doug Dubois at a party in New York City. © Chandler Holmes
Self-Portrait with Adrienne Salinger at her home in New Mexico. © Chandler Holmes