Austrian-born Josef Fischnaller takes pictures of scenes he reenacts from paintings by the Old Masters. But the photographer, who now lives in Berlin, also likes to add a modern twist. One of his favorite artists to copy is the Italian painter Caravaggio.

Josef Fischnaller was born in Grieskirchen, Austria in 1964. From his early apprenticeship to Photography in Vienna, he moved directly into photography for high-end fashion, opera and movie stars.


The tradition of portraiture and its essential requirement of posing and staging are the central subjects of Fischnaller's works: his models appear as classical nobleman and commissioners, and pose as stand-ins for their own art-historical influences. His background in high-end fashion photography comes through in the compositions, evoking the same sense of intense construction, visionary planning and seductive theatricality. The scenes are dignified but embellished with surprising props of edibles and gaudy ornaments.


Much like photographers such as Vik Muniz and Cindy Sherman, or painter Kehinde Wiley, Fischnaller's characters and constructions bring a self-reflective presence to the work and it's subject. The distance from the original subject is elongated while the temporal distance is shortened and, unlike that of Sherman or Wiley, the subject becomes as disposable as the fruits, jewels, and marshmallows of his references and edits.


Since his first solo exhibition at Steins, Wien, Austria in 1988, Fischnaller's work has been exhibited throughout Austria and Germany, including venues such as the U-Hof Linz, Germany (1996); Galerie Ernst Hilger, Wien, Austria (2011) and most recently Galerie Friedmann-Hahn, Berlin, Germany (2013). Fischnaller received the CCA Venus Gold and Silver awards, the International Andy Award of Montreux Public Interest and the Cresta Awards for Unicef in 2006. Fischnaller currently lives and works in Berlin.