Vertigo

The Disarming Beauty of a Classic

Image: Jean Curran. From "The Vertigo Project," 2018. 20" x 24" dye transfer print. Edition of 10.

BY: Jes Zurell

Jean Curran witnessed firsthand the dark facets of humanity as an Irish photojournalist in Kenya. The tempered patience and endurance she developed during her years working for Agence France Presse groomed her for her next great conquest: creating dye transfer process photographs from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film, Vertigo.

Kodak formulated the dye transfer process during the 1930s, and it’s remained largely unchanged since then. It takes ages to achieve one good print, but it’s the best way to achieve a still image from video film, especially if that film is several decades old, a bit delicate, and well-loved by its cult following.

Curran dubbed her undertaking “The Vertigo Project” and it was picked up by Danziger Gallery in New York. The show remains on view through February 1.

The magnetism of Curran’s prints fortifies their presence. She establishes precise moods in each shot, and regardless of whether or not you’ve seen the film, there’s no room for misinterpretation.

When you look at each photograph, you’re likely to feel the pull of a mysterious blonde in a tailored skirt suit. We’re willing to bet she’s wearing Chanel No. 5 on the nape of her neck. The businessman in grey speaks in absolutes and wears calluses on his palms. The two of them in a room together sparks fear, drama, and the kind of curiosity usually reserved for wreckage.

Take a look at these pieces from the show, and if you’re thinking of watching Hitchcock’s original film before you look at Curran’s still photographs, remember that a good lover always lets a lady finish first.

 

image of falling woman from Vertigo 1958
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

Vertigo 1958 still frame
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

Woman in skirt suit walking through a flower shop
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

businessman walking past a construction site, vintage
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

blonde woman shot in profile wearing a '50s hairstyle
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

Dinner party scene in Vertigo 1958
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

man considers jumping off the ledge of a tall building
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

man clinging to a building ledge, about to fall
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

woman cowers before a threatening man in scene from "Vertigo" 1958
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

couple walks through Redwood forest in Vertigo 1958
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

apparition of a woman in a skirt suit walks through a bedroom
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

blonde, upperclass woman leans on a railing while wearing a white coat
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

woman in Vertigo stands under the Golden Gate Bridge in California
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

silhouette of a woman alone in an eerie room
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

blonde woman with coiled hair, Vertigo, 1958
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

man in a suit stands before two classical paintings
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.

 

Brunette in a green sweater, profile view on a city street
Image: Jean Curran. From “The Vertigo Project,” 2018. 20″ x 24″ dye transfer print. Edition of 10. Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo, and the images of Alfred Hitchcock are trademarks and likeness rights of Alfred Hitchcock, LLC.