All things have a life and time line. With utilitarian things, the life of an object presents itself through the wear and tear of use. My current interest in photographing vintage clothing began with my desire to capture different aspects of the breakdown of a garment. Like African art, pieces of clothing are meant to be used until they are no longer usable. My desire to capture a moment in the life of a garment before it deteriorates is a way to understand each article of clothing and where it has been.
When I photograph a garment, I find its essence through handling it and working with it over a period of time. Sometimes the soul of the piece is revealed by turning it inside out or backwards.
The ballet presents a unique opportunity. Each garment expresses itself through an invaluable patina that has evolved through the course of incredibly talented dancers using these costumes. The journey that a costume takes is a singular road that cannot be duplicated. Because the costumes are threadbare and torn, they are, by definition, spent. My desire to reveal the value of each piece by rediscovering its pedigree is one that I hope comes through in my work. The evidence of use that each costume has sustained is the very thing that makes it worth considering.
The attention to detail in the design of these costumes is staggering. Much of the nuance is impossible to see from the perspective of the audience. Perhaps the creators of these costumes intended to pay tribute to the dancers, elevating their experience through an intricately worked garment which beckons them to the role that they are about to perform.