Photographer Gail Albert Halaban spent her childhood summers in Gloucester, Mass., a small seaside town where her father was born. “I never thought it was that interesting of a place,” she says. “The beach was beautiful, but I was interested in getting to know it better.”
So she was somewhat surprised to learn that Edward Hopper, the beloved American realist painter, had also spent his summers there decades earlier; for whatever reason, Halaban says, people in town rarely talked about it when she was growing up. Still more curious was that although Gloucester is a town of picturesque coastal scenes, Hopper only painted houses.
“Hopper was playing with modernism,” Halaban explains. “And he was really looking at the light and the shadow — and how that formed shape, so his work was really about form in these pictures. He was also really interested in the working-class neighborhoods, not the wealthy.”
Halaban initially set out to create exact photographic copies of Hopper’s paintings. Then, she says, “I realized he already did such a great job, why would I need to do that? So I went back again and thought — I’m going to stand in the same place, but I want to make them my own.”
If Edward Hopper Had Been A Photographer
Photo Credit: Gail Albert Halaban