If, as Mark Twain wrote, "clothes make the man", imagine what costumes can do! Costumes give us permission to alter our behavior, to explore other personalities and lifestyles, and to bring wholy new and original identities to life. ‘Person/Persona’ is a series of photographs exploring the transformative power of costume-wearing and the creation of alter egos.
Some of these characters are the individuals’ original creations, some are familiar historical figures, most appear only on stage. I found each person, one at a time – referred by friends and performers, by attending historical reenactments and going to performances.
Fear of public speaking is a common phobia, one that ranges from nervousness to paralyzing fear and panic. I have always avoided public speaking situations altogether, or I suffered through them with shaking hands and a quavering voice. I hoped that through working on this photography project I might discover some secret thing that enables these subjects to be comfortable taking risks in public.
A number of people shared inspiring stories of overcoming personal struggles, and most feel that costumes have been the bridge to a happier life – a positive lesson in the infinite ways of finding community and building personal connections.