Vaguely Accurate
Photographs by Maxine Helfman
June 7–10, 2012

Inspired by a fascination with historical portraits, these images blur the distinction between painting and photography. In my reinterpreted versions of these portraits, a hair-and-makeup artist “paints” directly onto the subject, who is then costumed and placed before a painted backdrop. After technical adjustments have been made in the studio – lighting, angles and poses – the image emerges reminiscent to a print developing in a darkroom. The image is not retouched once the shot has been captured. Like the source material, the resulting photographs depict a very specific aspect of each portrait subject, only now the viewer is perhaps more compelled to ponder the larger story of the sitter while considering our culture’s fascination with documenting each other.


Maxine Helfman

Maxine Helfman is a self-taught photographer who previously worked for many years as a prop/set stylist and art director. Her background of creating “invented realities” for a range of advertising and editorial clients led to this initial body of work, being shown publicly for the first time as part of Flash Forward Festival Boston. Maxine works out of her studio in Dallas, Texas.