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Photographer's Note

A reflection in a shop window.

The title honours Belgian painter René Magritte (as well as his wife, Georgette Berger, whom he met at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels). Magritte’s imagery is so widely used that he hardly attracts attention today, but while its shock value – once great – is gone, the rare combination of a unique vision with consummate artistry can still be seen in his work.

Like Andy Warhol, Magritte began his artistic career as a graphic artist, designing posters and advertisements, a background that shows in the photo-like realism of many of his images. He eventually formed an advertising agency with his brother, which subsidized the time and effort he put into painting and exhibiting his surrealist works.

I was reminded of Magritte’s habitual imagery by this photo of an anonymous human figure infused with clouds. Cloud-filled blue skies infect many of his paintings, and his human figures are often without specific identity, formally dressed men and women, lacking even faces. Most directly, this photo reminds me of this painting.

Magritte was born in 1928 and died in 1967. The Foundation Magritte has a virtual gallery, and engages in popularizing, preserving, and researching his work.

Miscellaneous factoid: you can get a free Magritte screen saver here.

There are two alternate shots in the workshop. One is a wider crop, which includes extra surrealistic elements. I like it quite a bit, but ultimately I thought the tight crop was better. The other is a black and white version of the tight crop. I’m quite taken with the ghostly appearance of the B&W image.

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Additional Photos by Lee Sato (ElSato) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 151] (824)
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