Maxine Helfman: Historical Correction

“In ‘Historical Correction’, photographer Maxine Helfman reimagines Flemish portraiture with subjects typically not represented in the genre.

Flemish portraits depict people dressed in elaborate collars and hats, their expressions unmoving and emotionless. Oh, and they’re all white. This is the 17th century after all, when art patrons were usually white noblemen.

To address this underrepresentation, Helfman created a series wherein people of colour have their photos taken in the same robes and fancy headwear. It’s basically a revision of history. The black community, long ignored and maligned, now taking the spotlight.

According to Helfman, her series seeks to empower as well as make us ponder on inequality.

“At face value when people look at them, it’s a beautiful image,” she said. “You’re so easily brought into these, and by the time you are, you give it some thought and ask some questions.

“The longer my series have been out, the more even I understand the layers – and especially when I hear other people’s reaction and other people’s comments. They just kind of take on a life of their own.”

You can find out more about Maxine Helfman and her work here.” –







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