Our work takes the form of carefully constructed, highly detailed photographic tableaux. Each is based on in-depth research of the period, subject and site, but reinterpret through the eyes of contemporary (present-day) ways of seeing. A further level of complexity is introduced in magic-realist touches. Through these strategies of a temporally dislocated point of view and tropes of the fantastical we are able to reinterpret and critique each subject.
As with history painting, each image is an intricate story. The themes we explore include the sensuality that lies beneath the coolest exterior; the hypocrisy of the pious; the corruption of the powerful; the violence seething below the veneer of civilisation; the calamities that befall the most rational plans. We explore and celebrate the diversity of humanity across age, gender, sexual orientation and cultural background presenting the chaos of interactions in aesthetically sophisticated but narratively unexpected ways.
The result is both familiar and surprising. Familiar in terms of the general subject and costuming; surprising in the way the characters interact and the underlying twists in the narrative. Yet, being researched in detail, the unexpected elements in each image are all based on fact; evoking, through imaginative reworking, a truer history than the sanitised narratives passed down over time.
Each image is meticulously planned over months of pre-production; shot involving an extensive production team; and finished over many weeks of painstaking post-production. The detail and narrative complexity of each image has proven highly engaging for viewers from very diverse backgrounds, drawing them into the ideas and actively engaging their imaginations. This active imaginative engagement is an essential aspect of our practice and has been a major contributing factor to the enormous success of our work internationally. Our images speak to a highly diverse audience because of their very human narratives.