What I'm Working On: Caleb Cole's "Other People's Clothes"

Ever since I was young I went with my mother to thrift stores and garage sales, to buy things we needed, but also for the fun of the hunt. This is where most of my work begins, with everyday objects and what those things say about who we are and what we desire.

Other People's Clothes starts with clothing I buy secondhand, borrow, or find, then a person that I imagine to fill those clothes, and finally a location where that person can play out a silent moment alone. I'm interested in the ways that people make sense of who they are and why they are here, how they negotiate the things they want not matching with the circumstances of their lives.

Over the past 5 years, I've shot with a range of Nikon DSLRs and lit the scenes with Nikon speedlights and Alienbees strobes. I place the camera on a tripod and use the self-timer, walking back and forth from the scene to the camera as I channel the character into existence.

I've published a book of the series and am currently showing the work in an exhibition called Character Study at the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA.




[quote align="center" color="#999999"]"At the heart of my work is a fascination with ambiguities and inconsistencies, an interest in how I go about negotiating areas of grey and how others manage to do the same. When I am in public, I watch people going about their daily routines alone; I wonder about the lives they lead, wonder how they experience the world around them and how they make meaning of it.

I spend time inventing stories for them: narratives of isolation, of questioning and searching, of desire, and of confusion. The images in Other People’s Clothes are a product of my exploration of private moments of expectation, a visual expression of my experiences stepping into the shoes of the types of people I see on a daily basis. Each photograph in the series is a constructed scene that begins with an outfit or piece of clothing (either bought, found, or borrowed), then a person that I imagine to fill those clothes, and finally a location where that person can play out a silent moment alone.

This moment is the time right before something changes, the holding in of a breath and waiting, the preparing of oneself for what is to come. Though I am the physical subject of these images, they are not traditional self-portraits. They are portraits of people I have never met but with whom I feel familiar, as well as documents of the process wherein I try on the transitional moments of others' lives in order to better understand my own."[/quote]




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Caleb coleJune 2013Other people's clothesWhat i'm working on