The first known use of the word “superhero” goes as far to 1899. Forerunners of the superhero archetype today would include notable folkloric heroes like Robin Hood, who ventured in distinctive clothes and were noted for doing good deeds to their community.
The 1903 play The Scarlet Pimpernel has further helped embed the notion of a hero with a secret identity into popular culture. As Scarlet Pimpernel demonstrates the ability to outwit his adversaries or use a sword as a signature weapon, the character exhibits some of the characteristics that would become the standard superhero conventions.
The idea of masked avengers took off quickly, and pulp-fiction characters such as Zorro (1919) became more frequent. Comic books also played a huge part thanks to comic characters like Popeye, who appeared in 1929. The beginning of the Golden Age of Comic Books also produced Superman in 1938 and Captian Marvel in 1939. According to Britannica, “Superman was the first widely hailed superhero, appearing in Action Comics #1 in June 1938, and he was the prototype for the many costumed superheroes that followed.”
Bearing in mind the short timeline of superheroes’ establishment in popular culture, it is quite difficult to imagine them out of their orthodox settings. For instance, have you ever tried to imagine Batman and Robin wearing robes typical of the 16-th century? It was difficult for us at first, until we came across the astounding work of photography done by the French photographer, Sacha Goldberger.
The project named Super Flemish by Goldberger has created a series of photographs that portray ultimate pop culture characters of the caliber of Spiderman, Yoda or even villains such as Darth Vader, in a Flemish treatment. The photos largely resemble 16-th century paintings, and it has taken Sacha two years to complete the ambitious project. A team of twelve people has put efforts in making the flawless makeup, hair and special effects that can be noticed on the photographs.
“A lot of the job was done before and during the shoot. Pierrick and Sebastian, my digital retouchers, helped me to get the precision and the perfection I was looking for in this series,” says Sacha. “All of it was incredible; it was like a dream come true.”
“When you see the Hulk in front of you and you, ask him to look romantic, it’s crazy. The Joker was also very impressive. He endured three hours of make-up and started to act like Heath Ledger in the movie, The Dark Knight,” adds the French photographer.
As we awe at the Super Flemish recreation of world-famous superheroes and villains, and we further dig in the portfolio of Goldberger, we are more than excited to see some his work coming to some of the nearby galleries downtown.
Without a doubt, Goldberger has managed to transform the mythology of modern day superheroes by changing their setting and ambient to a more vintage-looking one. Embraced with perfection to details, the Super Flemish has appeared as one of his latest projects, following other intriguing photography projects and also showcasing precision and an eye for details. One of his earlier project entitled Mamika was also followed by a publication of 2 different books in Europe and the USA.
Since 2008, Goldberger has exhibited in several different galleries in Paris. In native France, he has also contributed to outdoor exhibitions at Vendome, Bercy Village.
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Around the globe, so far he has participated in exhibitions in Amsterdam, London, Rio, and New Delhi.