If you clicked on this link, chances are you’ve already seen The Force Awakens. What you probably haven’t seen is photographer Steve Brown’s infamous Last Supper, a stark, death-star take on Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting:
Part photography, part CGI, and part full-fledged Star Wars geekdom, Steve Brown’s Last Supper features the Emperor as Jesus and Darth Vader as Judas the betrayer. The end result is a montage of photography (the characters) mixed with CGI (the set). On his blog, Brown says he would have preferred “to go A New Hope and do everything physically,” but “sadly had to go down the Phantom Menace route and design a completely digital set.” In the end, the main challenge was to blend the two together seamlessly so that it looked like one whole photograph. (It helps to have talented friends who can come up with stellar CGI as well!)
The lighting was the most variable part of the project. Brown used Bowens Gemini flash heads for the flash photography, a blue/green backlight to simulate starlight coming from the window, and a red-gelled light to simulate the center-piece: a holographic Death Star. The costumes/characters were provided by a local Star Wars enthusiasts and as all of the storm troopers looked the same, he only needed three at a time.
Believe it or not, this was an entirely noncommercial undertaking for Brown. Not having the rights to the any part of the Star Wars franchise, he did this simply out of love and creativity. The end result? Visually impressive and thought provoking. But I’m not quite sure how I feel about twelve clones (storm troopers) replacing the twelve apostles, or a hologram of the Death Star replacing the meal, or most importantly, the Emperor standing in place of Jesus. What do you think?