Statement of Purpose
Elena Dorfman’s prior body of work, Still Lovers, focuses on the relationship between silicone sex dolls and their owners. Explorations of identity through portraiture are at the forefront of Dorfman’s work. In her most recent series, Re-Anime: Photographs of Fandom, Dorfman explores the pop-cultural phenomenon of “cosplay.” Cosplayers dress up in costumes that represent characters from video games, animated films, and the Japanese graphic novels. This exploding subculture, adapted from the Japanese “geek” craze, flourishes at convention centers, college dorms, private clubs, and homes across the country, every day of the year. It is a private world that continues to grow.
I’ve seen a lot of that stuff from the front lines. I could dig up literally dozens of photos I’ve taken from behind the table at comic shows of people dressed up as everyone from Spider-Man to Naruto. For me, sitting behind a table slinging my comics wares it actually livens up the day. Sometimes the costumes are stunningly good, other times they’re stunningly bad or just ill-conceived (think skin tight costumes on “fat flash”, “fat green lantern”, or “fat wonder woman.”) Regardless of the way they go they’re always interesting.
Anyway, the photos in the above link are fascinating to me because they separate the cosplayers from their environment. Which brings a different feel to them. It’s one thing to see Sailor Moon or Naruto or whoever in a convention hall filled with 60,000 geeks. It’s quite another to show them completely stripped of context like they are in the photos. There’s something about it I like a lot both visually and intellectually (although it’ll take me a bit to clarfiy what exactly)- hence me linking to it.