Is photography the new fine art? Elle asked seven top photographers to reinvent an old master.
September 1997

When Mario Sorrenti photographed Kate Moss for the Calvin Klein ad campaign, like da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, her exquisite face was immortalized for ever in the world’s cultural imagination. Just as the great painters defined their era, today’s photographers fulfil the same role in contemporary society. They have their own favourite models and use them to create images that will adorn the walls of galleries of the future. To celebrate the importance of photography in our culture, ELLE commissioned some of the world’s most creative photographers to recreate a great painting from the past. We asked them to chose their favourite model and interpret the painting using their own signature style. These are the images they produced.



Painting: Mona Lisa, 1503 Artist: Leonardo da Vinci Subject: bearded lady

“I feel strongly that artists should do their own thing and not try to reproduce other works of art. But when I first met the bearded lady, I was fascinated by her energetic quality –the parallels with the Mona Lisa were obvious. I liked the air of sadness in her, but despite what she’s been through, she was surprisingly warm and open.”