Here's the story behind those Kimye in Ireland photos




Irish twitter users got a kick out of yesterday's masterfully executed photos of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on their honeymoon in Ireland - especially since they showed the super-rich pair taking a traditional caravan holiday.

The photos were perfectly timed, released just as news of the couple's plane landing in Cork broke in the national press - it all seemed to good to be true.

Which, of course, it was. As keen commenters noted, the photos were too perfect to be a clever Photoshop manipulation effort - they looked real. They were real photos - just not of the celebrity couple.

No, they were the work of photographer Alison Jackson, who doesn't have the time for crawling through bushes to capture a blurry, grainy photo of a distant celebrity - so she hires her own.

Jackson has made a career of creating faux-celeb photoshoots that, with careful casting and great use of her photographer's skills, are convincing – more than enough to fool the casual observer.

Billing her work as "scenes we have all imagined, but never seen before", Jackson's work simulates imagined private moments in the lives of celebrities, providing newspapers and blogs with the kind of photo illustration they need to match key events.

Her Kim and Kanye photos, for example, were a commission for the Travel Channel's new show "RV Rampage", which puts teams on tourism-themed challenges across New Zealand. That it was a perfect match for the Irish honeymoon story was pure chance.

She made a particularly big splash in the UK press with the royal family, with her photos of Prince William and Kate Middleton being particularly convincing, and widely used during the media frenzy that surrounded the birth of Prince George.

Casting for lookalikes is key to Jackson's work, to the extent that she has a separate Facebook page for recruiting models. Most recently, she's been looking for men who bear a resemblance to England's football stars ahead of the World Cup.

When a lookalike isn't perfect, simple photography tricks - a little blur or grain - can lift a photograph's credibility.

But why?

Jackson writes, in her official website bio, that it's all about exploring the cult of celebrity.

"[She] raises questions about whether we can believe what we see when we live in a mediated world of screens, imagery and internet. She comments on our voyeurism, on the power and seductive nature of imagery, and on our need to believe.

"Her work has established wide respect for her as an incisive, funny and thought-provoking commentator on the burgeoning phenomenon of contemporary celebrity culture."

And with a huge online following - with 150,000 unique visitors a month to her own website, publication in some of the world's biggest websites, and four books to her name, her art definitely has the kind of attention an artist needs.

You can find more of Jackson's photography at her official website, on her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

By Dave Molloy

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