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Creating an Icon: the Role of Photography in Shaping a Public Image of the Karađorđević Royal Family / Magaš Bilandžić, Lovorka.

By: Magaš Bilandžić, Lovorka.
Material type: ArticleArticlePublisher: 2016Description: 67-68 str.Other title: Creating an Icon: the Role of Photography in Shaping a Public Image of the Karađorđević Royal Family [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.05 | photography, Karađorđević royal family, Foto Tonka, Vladimir Benčić, Foto Ronay, interwar period | photography, Karađorđević royal family, Foto Tonka, Vladimir Benčić, Foto Ronay, interwar period In: Art and Politics in Europe in the Modern Period str. 67-68Summary: Photography played a major role in creating the media image of the Karađorđević royal family and it contributed to the perception of the sovereign and his family members as new political, social and fashion icons that marked the life in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes/Yugoslavia in the interwar period. King Alexander I Karađorđević and his wife Maria enjoyed big popularity owing to careful and well-thought-out construction of their public image. Dailies and popular illustrated magazines such as the Zagreb-based Svijet (World) and other similar magazines published in various parts of the kingdom regularly featured detailed reports on the movements of the royal couple. Newspaper columns and front pages were frequently filled with stories on various aspects in the lives of the Yugoslav aristocracy. The royal family members were photographed by several Yugoslav photographers among which the most prominent were the Zagreb-based Mosinger and Tonka photo-studios and Benčić and Ronay studios from Belgrade. However, the family also posed to esteemed international photographers, such as Cecil Beaton. A considerable number of photographs showing the royal family in the period between 1931 and 1941 (the latter being the year which saw the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia) was shot by professional photographer Antonija Kulčar Prut, popularly known as Tonka. Her photos, aesthetically based on a successfully achieved interrelationship between traditional portraiture of sovereigns and contemporary international trends, contributed to the creation of the royal family’s popular image. By using a range of different approaches, she managed to bring a breath of Hollywood-like glamour and the immediacy of everyday life into a relatively narrowly defined genre of commissioned representative portraits marked by characteristic iconography, posture and the use of social and political status signifiers. King Alexander I and Prince Paul Karadjordjević were most frequently shown in their uniforms in carefully arranged poses which demonstrated their role as politicians and statesmen. On the other hand, the poses and lighting on the photos of Queen Maria and Princess Olga were characteristic of fashion magazines and advertisement photography of international film production companies suggesting thereby their multiple identities and roles – those of sovereigns, wives/mothers and modern women which represented the icon of style and embodied the self-awareness of the New Woman. Based on numerous representative portraits made by the aforementioned photographers and reportage photographs published in newspapers and magazines this paper aims to explore the role which photography played in establishing new icons and the creation of their complex and multiple public identities.
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Photography played a major role in creating the media image of the Karađorđević royal family and it contributed to the perception of the sovereign and his family members as new political, social and fashion icons that marked the life in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes/Yugoslavia in the interwar period. King Alexander I Karađorđević and his wife Maria enjoyed big popularity owing to careful and well-thought-out construction of their public image. Dailies and popular illustrated magazines such as the Zagreb-based Svijet (World) and other similar magazines published in various parts of the kingdom regularly featured detailed reports on the movements of the royal couple. Newspaper columns and front pages were frequently filled with stories on various aspects in the lives of the Yugoslav aristocracy. The royal family members were photographed by several Yugoslav photographers among which the most prominent were the Zagreb-based Mosinger and Tonka photo-studios and Benčić and Ronay studios from Belgrade. However, the family also posed to esteemed international photographers, such as Cecil Beaton. A considerable number of photographs showing the royal family in the period between 1931 and 1941 (the latter being the year which saw the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia) was shot by professional photographer Antonija Kulčar Prut, popularly known as Tonka. Her photos, aesthetically based on a successfully achieved interrelationship between traditional portraiture of sovereigns and contemporary international trends, contributed to the creation of the royal family’s popular image. By using a range of different approaches, she managed to bring a breath of Hollywood-like glamour and the immediacy of everyday life into a relatively narrowly defined genre of commissioned representative portraits marked by characteristic iconography, posture and the use of social and political status signifiers. King Alexander I and Prince Paul Karadjordjević were most frequently shown in their uniforms in carefully arranged poses which demonstrated their role as politicians and statesmen. On the other hand, the poses and lighting on the photos of Queen Maria and Princess Olga were characteristic of fashion magazines and advertisement photography of international film production companies suggesting thereby their multiple identities and roles – those of sovereigns, wives/mothers and modern women which represented the icon of style and embodied the self-awareness of the New Woman. Based on numerous representative portraits made by the aforementioned photographers and reportage photographs published in newspapers and magazines this paper aims to explore the role which photography played in establishing new icons and the creation of their complex and multiple public identities.

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