Portraits of a Daughter in the Style of Old Master Paintings


Photographer Bill Gekas of Melbourne, Australia has been creating portraits of his young daughter in the style of master European painters of old.

Here’s what Terry Lane of The Age has to say about the work:

Using various models, including his five-year-old daughter, Gekas has brilliantly re-imagined the masters, replicating the lighting style for which they are famous. The so-called Rembrandt lighting is characterised by strong window light falling on one side of the subject’s face and body, producing shadows amid a rich glow. Gekas uses artificial light to simulate the admired window-lighting effect.

Here is a selection of the portraits in the series so far:










Gekas says that he’s completely self-taught as a photographer and learned the basics of the craft back in the days of 35mm film photography. After using his analog SLR through the 90’s, he switched over to digital photography starting in 2005.

You can find more of his photography in the gallery on his website.

The Gallery [Bill Gekas Photography via Phoblographer]

P.S. If you liked this work, check out Suzanne Jongmans’ similar portraits that feature foam packing materials as props, and photographer Maisie Broadhead’s meticulous photographic recreations of old master works.

Image credits: Photographs by Bill Gekas and used with permission

  • Scott M

    As a big fan of the Old Masters, I find these really outstanding! Great lighting and model.

  • Burnin Biomass

    His daughter has such large expressive eyes! Impressive lighting. Excellent work.

  • fast eddie

    Everything about these is beautiful. Wow, I am really impressed!

  • Leonardo Abreu

    That’s awesome.

  • Sterling

    Impressive photography!

  • Bob Prangnell

    Yeah that’s a cool photographic project, so much better than a lot of the stupid photo projects you see here (eg food tied onto drinks with string to name just one..)

  • wickerprints

    Yes, that same image stood out for me as well. He shows a very clear understanding of how to control lighting to achieve a desired effect.

  • harumph

    I like them. Some, such as the last shot, are a bit overworked for my taste, but it’s a fun project. Although my first thought after reading, “Gekas uses artificial light to simulate the admired window-lighting effect,” was, Doesn’t Gekas have any windows in his house? My point being that, for my tastes, I would appreciate these so much more if they were done in a naturalistic style instead of taking them to the artificial extreme. But that’s entirely subjective.

  • Adarsha

    Beautiful portraits. excellent styling and lighting

  • sharp shark

    it is a good idea, but the lighting is terrible. It looks too much like a studio shoot then actual paintings. The pictures are too harsh, he needs to soften the pictures more.

    Beautiful little girl with good expressions.

  • tiredofit123

    OK, these are adorable. Only the one with the cat looks staged, the rest could almost pass for paintings.

  • Chris Copley

    Love these pics.

  • Samcornwell

    With photography skills like that, he doesn’t need to recreate old master paintings, he could make entirely new, original ones.

  • Timu├žin HIZAL

    Good light, technique, nice concept bla bla. But she looks impressive. Act natural and immaculate. Stuning work.

  • Simon Lajos

    Very, very EXCELLENT WORK!!!

  • Mike

    Photographs that don’t look like actual paintings?! The horror!!!

  • Christian DeBaun

    Excellent understanding of the light used to paint this genre/era, and then adapting it to photography. Well done.

  • Ksh2488

    I think your daughter has a job in modeling someday. She is beautiful.

  • the_gator

    Fantastic photos

  • Bill Gekas

    Thank you all for your kind comments and support, it’s much appreciated and an honor to be featured here. To those that don’t like the lighting or have a better way of doing it I can only suggest you show the rest of us how it should be when you’re featured here on PetaPixel! Best wishes to all! ;) .bill gekas

  • Adrian Sommeling

    Beautiful serie Bill

  • Chet Allen


  • Bill Buchanan

    One word, AWESOME!

  • michaelc

    wonderfull photo`s,the lighting looks modern though.Ithink those old paintings have nothing but natural lighting”rembrant lighting” with more shadows mixed with daylight.

  • Stephan Haggerty

    Petapixel so often presents us with a lot of gimmick, tediously derivative, and junk mediocre photography. This is certainly none of that. Creative, strikingly beautiful work.

  • JH5438

    so beautiful.

  • Sugumarje

    Wow… Superb! Great Study!!

  • momee

    Had to “Pin” this site. Absolutely amazing art!!

  • notsosure

    No one else thinks it is slightly creepy to see a kid substituting for what (for the time period) were often considered highly sexualized and the subjects were frequently of “questionable moral character”? She’s lovely, and so are the shots, but what about the larger questions at play about representation and history here?

  • Olivia Gomez

    You ‘ ve got to be kidding! These photos are exquisite. I would love to have them hanging in my livingroom.

  • DSLR Photography Courses

    Fantastic idea! Great styling and lighting! Love it!

  • Bill Chan

    Beautiful pictures. Love this kind of work!

  • shchristy

    Thanks, Bill ! Giving the rest of us some good ideas… Done any outdoors shots?