A handful of Panopticon Gallery photographers use the power of costume and portrayal to illustrate a meaningful story within an image. For his often labor-intensive self-portraits, Stephen Sheffield dons a plain suit and tie that has become a symbol of anonymity for the mysterious man that he has invented in his photographs. The artist team known as Atelieri O. Haapala transports us back to the 19th century with their Neo-Victorian cabinet cards, featuring sitters dressed in elaborate costumes and makeup. William Wegman has long been ushering his obliging Weimaraners into human clothes, wigs, and other props. The dedicated Japanese stage actors in Hiroshi Watanabe's Kabuki series are shielded under heavy make-up and lavish costumes, blurring the distinction between actor and character. Keiko Hiromi shows us the layers of transformation and devotion involved in creating an often entirely new character in her revealing portraits of professional drag queens. The subjects of these photographs wear an array of costumes that speak just as much of the subjects themselves as they do about to the meaning of the image.
|Stephen Sheffield, Gasoline Can, 2008|
|Atelieri O. Haapala, Toni, 2011|
4.25 x 6.5 inch Cabinet Card
|William Wegman, Farmer and Son|
|Keiko Hiromi, Wigs, from the series Jacques, 2012|
|Hiroshi Watanabe, Marina Ema & Kazusa Ito, Matsuo Kabuki|