Sometimes you see work that you fall in love with, and then you meet the person who created the work and you fall in love with the work a little more, because that person is so great. Such is the case of Caleb Cole and his wonderful series, Other People’s Clothes. I have been a fan of this work since it first knocked me out in the 2009 when juroring the Critical Mass offerings and I featured some of it on LENSCRATCH. Caleb has been hard at work completing the series, and is getting ready to create a book. But I’ll let him tell you about it.
If you would like to help Caleb bring this project into book form, you can donate here.
OTHER PEOPLE’S CLOTHES: 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.