How different can one man look Hilarious portraits of photographer that are a lesson in bad taste
It”s tricky to make an impression in the noisy world of photography but one snapper has found a way to cut through the clutter, foregoing his dignity in the process.
For the past five years, photographer and adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University Gordon Stettinius has been sending intentionally awful portraits of himself dressed as one of more than two dozen creepy-looking characters, as follow-ups to industry professionals.
“I sign portraits as though I am that somebody,” Mr Stettinius told Wired.
In character: Gordon Stettinius, pictured, sends intentionally awful images of himself dressed up as bizarre characters as follow-ups to industry professionals
The man has developed the cheesy, bizarre, daggy and sinister alter-egos by sculpting beards, raiding wardrobes and spray-tanning himself to within an inch of his life.
Working with studio photographer Terry Brown, the Mangini Studio Series features a beehive-styled 60″s sweetheart, a leather-clad punk, a clean-cut governor, and a skinheaded prisoner among a bunch of other aliases.
“We are content for the image quality to be more like that of a promotional glossy from a generic portrait studio than as a fine art print,” Mr Stettinius said, describing the series as “a prank run amok”.
“The cheesiness quotient is pretty high.”
But not all recipients of his unorthodox photographs, which are accompanied by an in-character letter, have got the joke.
“My looks change somewhat and thank-yous have sometimes been met with confusion,” Mr Stettinius said. “One Los Angeles gallery asked me to never send anything to them again. Ever. I might send a follow-up.”
Hairy: Mr Stettinius, pictured left and right, dresses as over two dozen cheesy, bizarre, daggy and sinister alter-egos
Cheesy: The adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, pictured left and right, admits “the cheesiness quotient is pretty high” in the shots
The two men meet in Mr Brown”s studio every couple of month to try out a new persona.
The photographer self-confesses a “disquieting need to experiment with the proud but oft-maligned permanent-wave hairstyle.”
From the perm, he has ventured into mullets, skinheads, cornrows, moehawks and even a 1960″s prom queen style up-do.
“I can only grow my hair so fast, so patience is a requisite,” he said.
The letter that accompanied Mr Stettinius” wrestler, Gringo Starr, includes “useful tidbits about his favorite author (Margaret Atwood) or his hobbies (that he collect statues that are part women and part other things) or news about about his ongoing feuds with Johnny Tempest or Cinder Ellis”, the photographer told Wired.
The images are surely hilarious but Mr Stettinius said the humour of the project was just one area of his interest.
He told Wired he also enjoys exploring the idea of identity or “sub-cultural tribes” in photography as well as political discourse.
Backfired: Not all recipients of Mr Stettinius” unorthodox photographs have got the joke
Cut through: The man, pictured left and right, uses the bizarre portraits in a bid to stay in the memory of industry professionals
Hard work: Mr Stettinius, pictured left and right, creates the alter-egos by sculpting beards, raiding wardrobes and spray-tanning himself to within an inch of his life
Collaboration: The photographer, pictured left and right, works with fellow snapper Terry Brown to create the shots
Hilarious: Mr Stettinius, pictured left and right, is prepared to poke fun at himself in a bid to cut through in the noisy industry
Acting: The man, pictured, accompanies each follow-up photograph with an in-character letter
Content: The photograph, pictured left and right, said he was content for the image quality to be more like a promotional glossy than fine art
Gross: Most of the images paint an unflattering picture of the Virginia adjunct professor, pictured left and right