Photo courtesy of John Ulman and Jessica Martin.

Local actress and photographer recreate iconic photos of famous film stars

Local actress Jessica Martin, and Queen Anne photographer John Ulman, are recreating iconic photos of famous film stars.

“We do our best to get the wardrobe right to the best of our ability. The lighting, the poses, everything,” Martin says. This included renting a boys sized tuxedo to pull off the classic Marlene Deitrich publicity photos for the film Morocco. “I much prefer men’s formal wear to women’s now: It’s so much more comfortable!”

The whole project started several years ago when Martin was between acting jobs. To keep her creative energy flowing, she started the photo series.

“It is hard to stay inspired when you are between jobs and don’t have a lot going on. So I thought, why not go back to the people that inspired me from the beginning? I loved, loved, loved Old Hollywood and classic movies as a kid. It has been a fun challenge to channel these women as an adult. It’s also been an opportunity to educate people on these iconic women and hopefully they will go out and see their films.”

She approached fellow actor and renowned photographer Ulman to see if he would be interested in the project.
"Jessica's great to work with, so when she asked if I'd be interested in this project, I immediately said, 'Yes!' I thought it would be a fun challenge to reverse engineer the lighting and figure out how these iconic shots were really produced,” said Ulman.

“We started the project with the goal of creating perfect replicas—making Jessica look like a doppelgänger. But as it evolved, we realized the photos were much more exciting when we focused on capturing the essence of these women and the mood of the shots."

So far they have tackled Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, and most recently, Norma Jean Baker, more famously known as Marilyn Monroe.

“You learn a lot when you are portraying someone else. Like Audrey, for example. It was the hardest thing to be that graceful. I’m too much of a clutz. And Marlene just smolders from every pore; so seductive in every frame. That’s not exactly my wheelhouse, so in the end you just do the best you can and make it your own.”
To see more photos from the series, go to Martin’s website,

Information provided by John Ulman and Jessica Martin,

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