The very beautiful Alison Jackson creates some of the most hilariously realistic images of famous people as `performed' by look-alikes. She has an uncanny ability to make us believe what we want to accept as fact when what she has actually done is created a fantasy that feeds on our need to buy into stretched truth.
This wonderfully produced photographic monograph from stern FOTOGRAFIE, Volume 70, gives us what the paparazzi long for - unbelievable situations of famous people completely staged with look alike people that Jackson finds and photographs. The front and back of the book are full page photos of Kate Middleton and Prince William misbehaving in royal attire. Open the book and there is more of the royal couple in embarrassing situations, looking for all the world like the real personalities being imitated. One full page is devoted to Queen Elizabeth sitting, patties down, on the loo, reading a magazine of portraits. And it doesn't stop there - there are dance lines with ill-clad people including Elton John along with the royalty of England, photos of Elton John changing is baby's diapers, Kate and the Queen observing copulating horses, etc.
And just to keep it international in scope, Jackson provides images of Marilyn Monroe - alone and with JFK, President Clinton with a call girl watching Hilary on the tube, prizefighters Obama and Romney in the ring, Tiger Woods with little on except the company of two hookers, George W. Bush with a rifle taking pot shots at a poster of Putin, Osama bin Laden buying L'Oreal hair color...it just goes on and on. The amazing aspect of Alison Jackson's work is that her pictures look completely believable.
There are some fine quotes form the artist: `To be honest, I always hated the effect photography creates, and I think that was the reason I started producing this kind of work.' `Photography tempts us into trusting a photo although we know perfectly well that a picture can never tell the whole truth.' And as the essay in the book ends, `And this was how Allison Jackson became a sculptress of tabloid material. A radical who turns into a photograph even the merest hint of a rumour, every inkling of what might be really going on behind the closed doors of high society and showbiz celebrities.'
This is both a satisfying survey of a unique artist's obsession/work, and an hilarious portfolio that will keep the reader entertained long after closing the colorful covers. Grady Harp, February 13