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Alexander Khokhlov’s Surreal 2D Portrait

Many have borrowed from William Shakespeare’s famed “To be, or not to be” line in their work, even those living beyond the literary world’s borders. Alexander Khokhlov is one of them. Fitting up the phrase for the 21st century, ‘2D or Not 2D’ is Khokhlov’s latest series of photos that brings traditional painted portraiture to life. Using a little post-production trompe l’oeil trickery and crafty make-up techniques, the photographer turns traditional 3D portraits into a living replica of 2D art.

 Spanning thirteen different artistic techniques from oil paint to water color, the portraits tread a fine line between second and third dimensions; so much so that if it weren’t for the whites of the models’ eyes, many could be fooled into thinking they were paintings. Each image takes up to six days to create with several hours set aside for make-up, an hour to shoot the modern masterpieces and then a good few days to retouch and produce the portraits. At the end, one question remains: are they 2D, or not 2D?

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