Tag Archives: costume

Just the Two of Us: Portraits of Cosplay Enthusiasts by Klaus Pichler

Just the Two of Us: Portraits of Cosplay Enthusiasts by Klaus Pichler

Just the Two of Us: Portraits of Cosplay Enthusiasts by Klaus Pichler

Who hasn’t had the desire just to be someone else for awhile? Dressing up is a way of creating an alter ego and a second skin which one’s behaviour can be adjusted to. Regardless of the motivating factors which cause somebody to acquire a costume, the main principle remains the same: the civilian steps behind the mask and turns into somebody else. ’Just the Two of Us’ deals with both: the costumes and the people behind them. – Klaus Pichler

In his latest photo project titled Just the Two of Us, photographer Klaus Pitchler visited a number of Austrian costume play (cosplay) enthusiasts in their homes where he photographed the elaborately costumed individuals. Hidden behind the closed doors of our neighbors may live two different people – the person we see on the street, and the one who wears an elaborate costume to live an alternative life. There’s no common answer for why people dress up, but Pichler says over the course of shooting the project he did see one pattern develop. For most people, dressing up is their way of coping with societal pressures, their temporary withdrawal from civil life. Costumes let them inhabit a different world temporarily where they can feel empowered.

“The easiest thing you can do about costumes is make fun of them,” he says. “But by doing that you’re avoiding reflection and not thinking about why people are doing it. You’re not thinking about what the person wants to say with their costume.”

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Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell

Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell

Wonderland by Kirsty Mitchell

Wonderland is an ongoing series of portraits by UK photographer Kirsty Mitchell as a part tribute to her mother, part conceptual photography and part exploration of costume and set design. Her mother’s death in 2008 filled Mitchell an emptiness that she sought an outlet to fill the vacuum. She revisited the fairy tales her mother used to share with her as a child and decided to use them as an inspiration for a series of portraits that would make use of her background in fashion and costume making.

Each costume and prop is painstakingly handmade, and each set is actually as beautiful as it looks in her photographs. Mitchell uses little artificial light during her shoots and only selects naturally beautiful locations around her home. Some scenes in Wonderland (2009-2012) required a twelve-month wait to capture the blooming seasonal flowers that are then around only for a two-week period.

What makes Wonderland magical is that it’s real. Most fantasy worlds today are created digitally in post production, thanks to Photoshop. But those in Wonderland are created with intensive handcrafting of props and costumes, real locations, the time and work for the preparation of the photo shoot and the intense dedication of Mitchell she brings to her heart.

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The Human Body by Mona Kuhn

The Human Body by Mona Kuhn

The Human Body by Mona Kuhn

Photographer Mona Kuhn is best known for her large-scale photographs of nudes. Her work redefines the ways of looking at the body. Her pictures often depict classical themes with a light and insightful touch. Kuhn’s approach to her photography is unusual that she develops close relationships with her subjects, resulting in images of remarkable naturalness and intimacy. Her subjects are naked but they are comfortable in their own skin.

As Kuhn said, “I always feel that people are dressed in their own skin.” For her, the nude is like “an art-historical costume you can’t get away from. And if a nude is a costume, then naked would be a uniform.” Focusing her lens on different subjects including her friends and family, Kuhn’s photographs are markedly egalitarian – meaning that every one of them is equal in every aspect.

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