Lonely Planet Writer

People Matching Artworks is the photography series you didn't know you wanted

Art galleries are peaceful spaces where a weary traveller can get a few hours of silence, contemplation and, let’s be honest, some people watching. This photographer has created a new art form from the serendipitous meetings of artwork and people.

A little girl stands in front of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Photo by Stefan Draschan

People Matching Artworks is an astounding and sometimes hilarious project that is the brainchild of Austrian photographer Stefan Draschan. He saw his first two matches months apart and it was only then that he saw the potential for a series.

This Liebermann is a match. Photo by Stefan Drashan.

“Beauty and magic inspire me most,” he told Lonely Planet. “I used to photograph all kind of things as I have a wide range of interests. It took some time to find out that it’s no single coincidence but happens quite often.”

This Warhol painting is matched perfectly. Photo by Stefan Draschan

The process of catching just the right moment may seem time-consuming but Stefan said the process is quite relaxing. For a recent university lecture, he said it took nine minutes for the shot to come through and the first step was simply finding a photograph you like.

Sometimes the match is almost perfect. Photo by Stefan Draschan

He then waits for a person to arrive who looks like they’ll ‘match’ the artwork but he doesn’t approach them; instead he simply hopes they will be drawn to the painting and he’ll grab the perfect shot. “I have to observe well, and I can concentrate on the artworks itself,” he said. “I have no stress at all.”

This shot took nine minutes to compose. Photo by Stefan Draschan

The main bulk of his photos are taken in Paris, Vienna and Berlin but in total, he estimates he’s been to 40 museums around Europe though he has dreams of going further afield with the project.

“I want to go to many more museums all over the world. Sometimes I dream of seeing all existing 34 Jan Vermeers and I develop travel plans like going to the Metropolitan in New York. There are over four million Dutch landscape paintings from the 17th century in the world, I’d love to catch a match in front of each of them.”

The match doesn’t always have to be clothing either. Photo by Stefan Draschan

The reaction to Stefan’s unique collection has been astounding. “I always used social media and had very positive feedback on and offline from the beginning. I get a lot of messages, which are mostly kind and warm, as people get inspired by it and it changes the perception of their viewing.”

Impressive impressionist matching. Photo by Stefan Draschan

People Matching Artworks isn’t the only project Stefan is involved in. He runs two more Tumblr blogs dedicated to odd or bad behaviour in museums; People Sleeping In Museums and People Touching Artworks.