PHOTOGRAPHY_ Who hasn't had the desire just to be someone else for a while? Dressing up is a way of creating an alter ego, a second skin which one's behaviour can be adjusted to and causes a person to be perceived differently. 'Just the two of us' by Klaus Pichler photographer deals with both costumes and the people behind them.
The tradition of dressing up and wearing costumes has been part of many traditional special celebrations in society for centuries. They are usually part of a spectacle, a display or a communal activity which often turns everyday routines upside down and gives permission to behave in a way which is not acceptable in ‘real life’. In recent years, in addition to the traditional practices of wearing costumes, several new individual trends have become established where dressing up is either the main element or a vital part of it. In this series of photographs, a range of different traditions are portrayed in order to highlight the huge variety amongst the wide range of costumes which is currently available.
"For the photo series ‘Just the two of us’ I visited owners of elaborate costumes in their own homes. The choice of location is not a coincidence: Nowhere else is the (abstract) link between the person behind the mask and his or her alter ego as visible as in their own home. Nowhere else would it have been possible to portray the mask and, figuratively speaking, the person behind it on the same picture. The costumeusually full body costumes, which completely conceal the ‘private’ personrepresents the alter ego whilst the surrounding living space, so to speak, the ‘backdrop’ or stage design cautiously impart information about the person behind the costume. The circumstances in which the costumes are usually worn are purposely reversed to the exact opposite: In most cases, dressing up is inevitably linked to social activity. On the photos of this series, however, the costume owners stay ‘at home’. In order to further emphasize this reversal, the people on the photos are (opposed to the original purpose of the costume) pictured quietly pursuing everyday activities. This setting allows the person behind the masquerade to shine through- the home and the individual activity are ‘themselves’ and the activities are not exactly what would normally be expected of the character the costume portrays."
The purpose of this setting is to create questions: Why did the person choose this particular costume? Does the decoration style of the home give any kind of clues? And, most importantly, the question at the centre of it all: Who on earth is hidden behind the mask?
Photo© Klaus Pichler