By Susana Hayward Soler, News Taco
Here was a photo of Frida Kahlo floating around the Internet, in sepia, wearing a thick necklace and holding a gun. Perhaps it was the gun, or was it the peek-a-boo robe, that got all those hits? (Frida rocks no matter what.)
Ni modo, the Photoshop image of Kahlo holding a weapon went viral July 18, propagated on the fake frida kahlo Facebook page (yes, lower caps).
Like others who fell in love with the photo, News Taco thought it was real. Yes, we were suckered but in the process we discovered Toren.
“I am somewhat conflicted between wanting to create a believable image, and whether it is ‘right’ to fool people – have not come to a perfect conclusion, but tagged some of the images as photoshop and fake,” Toren told News Taco. “I think, though a fake, it’s a positive and fairly honest image of Frida – I’m glad people like it.”
Like it? They loved it; News Taco’s Facebook page got about 8,000 hits and counting. So we wanted to know more and Toren, who has several Kahlo nudes on his website, answered some our questions via e-mail:
What is it about Frida?
“I imagine I am excited and inspired by Frida for the same reasons a lot of folks – her amazing paintings, intellect, no-nonsense feminism, revolutionary sympathies, personal strength etc., as well as her physical beauty and the physical challenges she struggled with – all that and more.”
How did you come up with that image?
“I was partially inspired by the nude of Frida that appeared a few years ago, from the waist up fixing her hair – I was on vacation, with lots of time to do whatever came to mind, and I thought it would be fun to complete that photo, and combined it with another shot of mine. I wanted to challenge myself to create a convincing vintage image – and thinking the image was somewhat successful, and that people would enjoy it, I created the Frida Kahlo Nude Tumblr page for the best images.
The photo with the gun is from an ’80s shoot – the model was a rocker – smart, tough friend – the side lighting in both photos is very similar, and as soon as I pasted Frida’s head into my photo I was struck by how well Frida’s piercing (angry?) eye contact combined with the danger of the gun and the sexuality of the open robe – like, if there was no such photo of Frida, no one would be surprised if there was one… I joked with a friend that Frida was the cute Communist we leftists most wanted to see nude (she suggested young Trotsy), so you see, it started from a playful place.”
Have you had others believe it was real?
“I am somewhat conflicted between wanting to create a believable image, and whether it is ‘right’ to fool people – have not come to a perfect conclusion, but tagged some of the images as photoshop & fake.
Case in point: Recently I ran across this photo. It is a very good fake of Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein – I and a lot of friends totally bought into it being real and were very excited – discovering it’s fake was a bit disappointing, but I was not angry over being fooled. I think a lot of people think it’s real, a lot can see the imperfections and also figure if it was real it would be known by now – and a lot know it’s fake but like it anyway.”
How did your website angrylambie.com come about?
“Not much more about origins of angrylambie – I was post-divorce and having a bad time of it, and bonded with this lamb – the rest is pretty much what you read on the site.”
Do you still work as a photographer?
“I used to be a photographer – got a degree in the ’80s, knew about lenses and worked in photo labs – but now I’m a picture taker, always have a point & shoot camera with me, and share pics with friends on Facebook, flickr & buzznet. Thanks for spreading the image.”