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Erwin Olaf : Royal Blood


Archives of November 11, 2010

Erwin Olaf‘s Royal Blood series, which includes the Diana look-a-like picture, attempts to stir debate about public fascination with fame and violence by using blond models to portray celebrities who met a violent end.

The tiara-wearing look-alike stares out at a camera in a pose not unlike those in actual portraits taken of Diana.

But Olaf‘s image bears a bloody wound on her arm in which a Mercedes logo has been embedded. The Scottish Daily Record branded the photograph “a tasteless reminder” of the Paris car accident in which she died.

Other photos in the series include a bullet-riddled Russian Empress Alexandra, a headless Marie Antoinette, and a pair of Jacqueline Kennedy images set before and after her husband‘s assassination.

“Look at all the violence there is in the world. Think about the movies being made today. We worship violence. This is something we should discuss,” Olaf said.

The photographs are jarring not just due to their violence, but also because Olaf‘s subjects are posed like fashion models, seemingly unaware of what has befallen them.

Despite criticism, Olaf, who started out in photo journalism but found “reality kept getting in the way”, is unrepentant.

“People don‘t have to like what I do. I‘m happy as long as I get them to talk about the issues,” he said.

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