New York City photographer Richie Fahey paints on his pictures in a cold water flat, surrounded by his inspiration: a towering collection of 1930s-1960s musty paperbacks and detective pulp. With the help of a postwar hobbyist's manual, “Photo Oil Coloring for Fun and Profit”, he learned to transform black and white photographs into glorious colour by dabbling with pigments on snapshots from the '40s.
Fahey's technicolor-like style evokes lobby cards in old movie houses, covers of dimestore novels and star portraits in fan magazines like “Screen” and “Photoplay”. In defining his style, Fahey is inspired by the posed photographs from detective magazines, cinematographers of the 1940's-50's like John Alton, portrait photographers such as George Hurrell, and painters and illustrators like Leeteg and James Avanti.
In creating his images, Fahey plays with the noir stereotype of beautiful women gone bad and the men who love them. He is painstaking about stylistic detail. Convincing art direction, combined with vintage lighting techniques and hand colouring conspire to create alluring, ambiguous works. The viewer's inability to pinpoint the exact time frame in which a Fahey photograph was taken, lends a certain timelessness to the artist's work.