March 9, 2013 at 11:15 AM ET
At first glimpse, they look like classic paintings you might see hanging in the Louvre — but actually they’re photos taken by a photographer in Australia of his 5-year-old daughter, Athena.
“It's not about imitating any of the known past works, but more about re-creating the atmosphere the old masters' works were known for,” photographer and father Bill Gekas told TODAY.com via email.
The photos place Athena in various simple settings, with fruit -- and without the cheesy smile that’s a staple of photos nowadays.
What’s the magic behind the artistry? Gekas cites lighting, as well as digital enhancements and “some knowledge in camera and aesthetics.”
The Melbourne dad started taking the photos back in 2010 because he wanted some classic portraits of his daughter. Then people took notice and the project took a turn.
“As a little time went on, I was still shooting and it was becoming more a body of work which my peers found appealing,” Gekas said. “At that point, the concept of it being a portrait of our daughter shifted to it being a creative-type portrait of a child.”
Gekas is not your regular camera-wielding dad: He’s an award-winning, self-taught photographer whose pictures have made splashes in numerous publications.
And how does Athena like posing for Dad?
“She loves it,” Gekas said. “Like any young girl her age, it’s about dressing up in fancy costumes; that’s the part that’s most appealing to her.”
The father-daughter duo only shoot together every few weeks so little Athena doesn’t grow bored. Gekas and his wife spend about a week prepping the shoot, which only lasts about 10 minutes.
“Most importantly it’s been about not taking it too seriously, having fun with the camera and spending a little time once in a while doing something creative altogether as a family,” Gekas said.
His photos may provide some inspiration for frustrated dads out there looking to get great shots of their daughters.
“The most important part is to make the photo shoot fun and short,” Gekas said “Be well prepared for it, and try (to) get the shot within the first 10 minutes if you can.”