IMPERSONATORS SERIES

The Ultimate Bad Guy?

Even super heroes cry. They too feel the impact of the economic, social and cultural crisis that has the world under its spell. The ultimate bad guy. Nicolas Silberfaden photographed impersonators who try to make ends meet by roaming the streets and earn an extra buck in Los Angeles. So he explains on his website:

Due to the current economic, social and cultural crisis in The United States of America today, I have decided to do a photographic project consisting of a series of studio portraits of superhero and celebrity impersonators that live and work in the city of Los Angeles. Most of them unemployed Americans, they decided to suit up with their costumes and hit the streets, animate parties and events in efforts to make ends meet. Making them pose in their costumes against a colorful backdrop, I ask them to manifest feelings of genuine sadness – honest emotions that are a consequence of our current times. The result is a somber, striking visual image that contradicts the iconic nature of strength and moral righteousness typical in American superhero and celebrity imagery. Creating the illusion that Superman does exist – that he too was fallible and affected by America’s downturn.

Visit his website and have a look at the complete series. I find the portraits interesting. Nicolas has taken the subject of an iconic figure and downgraded it to a human level with all its emotions and problems.

Nicolas Silberfaden’s website: www.nicolassilberfaden.com

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Intense Olympics

The Olympics are almost a week on their way now. Many medals have been won and many tears have been shed. Hours of training resulting in either eternal bliss or quite the opposite. All those sports and emotions reminded me of a photo series.

Back in 2009 I visited the World Press Photo. The photo series the Olympics reminded me of was that of diving men by Vincent Laforet. I liked the photos. But being a photography student at the time,  I felt the need to edit the photos. By taking some pictures with my mobile, I cropped the pictures in a way that the photo’s context didn’t matter anymore. All that is left are the faces of men doing something intense.

Vicent Laforet’s website: www.laforetvisuals.com

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Immersion (Piss Christ) Andres Serrano

Religious Immersion

Controversy is a word that springs to mind when looking at the photographs of Andres Serrano. The American photographer became notorious through his photos of corpses and his use of faeces and bodily fluids in his work. One of the very controversial photographs was that of a crucifix submerged in a liquid. The liquid was his own urine. This in 1987 created artwork he called “Immersion (Piss Christ)”.

For Serrano this artwork was a statement on the misuse of religion. He defended his photograph as a criticism of the “Billion-dollar-Christ-for-profit industry” and a “condemnation of those who abuse the teachings of Christ for their own ignoble ends”.

On several occasions the photograph was vandalized. A print of the photograph was damaged using a screwdriver or ice-pick on April 17, 2011 while on exhibit in Avignon, France. Before that a print was also vandalized in Australia. And in Sweden, neo-Nazis took it upon themselves to ransack the art work.

If by definition art has to communicate some form of emotion, Serrano sure managed to do so.

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