Tina, by JH Lynch is a familiar painting to many people who were around in the 1960s and 70s. If there was not one of these reproductions in your own home, then there was probably one in the home of someone you knew. Originally bought, complete with cream plastic frame, from Boots or Woolworths, copies can now be found in junk shops and car boot sales.
Despite the fact that copies of his paintings sold in their thousands, very little is known about Joseph Henry Lynch. We do know that he was born in Britain, he died in 1989 and, frustrated with his lack of recognition he gave away, donated many of his paintings to charity or destroyed them before he passed away. Those that are left are apparently in the possession of his nephew.
Although he did paint some urban scenes and a portrait of Winston Churchill, many of Lynch’s paintings are of beautiful, sultry Spanish women in front of simple backdrops. Tina is probably the most familiar of his paintings but Tina (Green Dress) is much rarer and therefore more valuable. Interestingly the position of Tina’s head is almost identical in the two paintings suggesting that he painted one and used that as a basis for creating the other.
It has been suggested that Lynch was inspired to create some of these paintings after seeing photographs of well known actresses like Jean Shrimpton, so I thought it would be fun to recreate one of Lynch’s paintings as a photograph. I initially considered Tina but when I couldn’t work out how I might get a tree trunk (or even a log) into the studio I thought again and chose Tina (Green Dress).
I arranged for a model to come to the studio and found a green gypsy top for her to wear. I also found a nice blue and yellow backdrop that I could use. To reduce the amount of work I needed to do in post production I arranged for her hair and make-up to be done.
I set the studio up using three lights, two to evenly light the background at f5.6 and one to the left of the image at a 45 degree angle to the model at f8. All of the lamps had softboxes on them to give a nice soft light.
The light in the painting is very soft so, after a few test shots with the flash, I chose not to use the flash and simply to use the modelling lights with a reflector to reflect some light back onto the model.
To ensure that I was slightly above the model so that she could look up to the camera I asked her to kneel on the floor before directing her into the position that I wanted.
I had my camera on a tripod set at f4.5, shutter speed of 1/10 sec, ISO 100 and a focal length of 35mm. It meant that the model had to be quite still but I liked the effect I was getting.
In post production I cropped the image from landscape to portrait and used the clone tool to disguise some skin blemishes. I increased the blue saturation and decreased the red saturation to cool down the skin tones. Then I used the adjustment brush to darken some areas across the chest. This is the final image.
I am quite pleased with the final result, I think I have managed to reproduce the lighting and the general scene quite well but am disappointed that I haven’t positioned my model’s head at the correct angle. I think that if I did this again I would try to quickly view the image on a larger screen, that way I would be better able to see the picture that I was making and compare it to the original.
Here are the two images side by side.