Sunday, June 10, 2012

German photographer Thomas Struth was one of several artists asked by the UK's National Portrait Gallery to create a commemorative image of Queen Elizabeth for this year's 60th anniversary Jubilee. He said in an interview that he was dubious at first. His career has been notable for magnificently detailed monumentally scaled photographs of great world architecture.   Portraiture, when he did it, was devoted to non-celebraties; he said he hadn't had much luck photographing the famous and powerful as he couldn't get them to loosen up and reveal themselves.

Eventually, he gave in and studied royal portraits through the ages, including existing photographs of Elizabeth taken throughout her reign.  He then focused on the furniture, ornamentation and colors of the potential backgrounds, anxious to include the grandeur but not allow the richness of detail to overwhelm the face.  He did the shoot at Windsor Castle a little over a year ago, working extensively with one of the Queens ladies in waiting who would bring dresses, suits, jewelry and other accessories for him to review in relation to backgrounds that looked desirable.  He then made his choices, all of which were approved by the subject.  The image above is the final choice from among all the pictures Struth shot.

So much is going on that's so right -- they're a couple, but the color of the dress and hair and slight extra light on her face make you look at her. The clothing is simple; her not overly-fitted dress is almost casual and doesn't distance her.  It's The Windsors at Home but the rich yet subdued background, accented and anchored by the great standing candelabra lamp, sets the royal tone.  It's much like an excellently propped and costumed stage set -- which in fact it is.   And it has interested me in exploring Thomas Struth's other work.

Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker has survived the recall attempt and is claiming vindication for his anti-union stand.  His new project is to deny GLBT people rights visit their partners in the hospital.
Walker wants the state to cease defending its domestic partner registry on the grounds that it's unconstitutional.  This is from the Associated Press:
Members of the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action filed a lawsuit last summer arguing the registry violates the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage. Former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat who proposed the registry as a means of granting same-sex couples more legal rights, chose to defend the registry and had filed a motion asking Dane County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser for summary judgment upholding it. Walker, a Republican, inherited the case from Doyle when he took office in January.
Walker has filed documents saying the registry shouldn't be defended because it mimics marriage, and  is unconstitutional because of that. The registry, which has somewhat fewer than 1400 couples listed, guarantees same-sex couples the right to visit each other in hospitals, make end-of-life decisions, and inherit each other's property, just as married couples do.  A laundry list of other rights is still denied, but former Governor Doyle's registry unquestionably filled a great need and is now endangered.  A gay advocacy group, Fair Wisconsin, will step up to defend the registry in the absence of state support.  Governor Walker's opposition will continue; somehow guaranteeing all citizens of the state the rights to protect and exercise their relationships as they so choose is a danger to the concept of small government.     


Some gratuitous Animal pictures:

I am curious to hear more about what you think will now happen in WI, and will this tip the national election
I love Old Queens...
ooh, I hate to think what that sea lion did with that little penguin the moment after the photo was taken!
Mitchell, I think it's a puffin rather than a penguin.
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