Monday, August 5, 2013

The Emperor's New Clothes Photo Series by Ted Sabarese

Note: Any pixelating was added for the purposes of this blog post ONLY. The only intention is to not have images on the blog that could be misconstrued as "adult" (and all the unpleasantness that comes with that if you attract the wrong sort of attention) while still being able to comment on, and reference, the images. It DOES, however, affect how this photography is viewed. I recommend you visit the artist's gallery HERE to see this series as it was meant to be seen.

We've seen many illustrations of this Hans Christian Andersen tale, many of them funny, but it's rare to see a photographic interpretation. Artist, photographer and director Ted Sabrese, who has done some very interesting projects, really did an amazing job of this series. Especially as it gets right to the heart of the story in just a glance.

I've had this bookmarked for a while, wondering how best to post on  the project to keep the blog "viewer friendly" and found a nifty little Photoshop tool to help me out. I have pixelated the images where there's nudity (or close enough) but DO recommend taking at look at the originals at the artist's Behance gallery HERE. Why? Not only were these subjects NOT meant to be covered in any way (as it defeats the purpose of the photos) but even the suggestion of doing so via pixelating, lessens the impact of these photos - a lot.

They're about exposure (doubly evident due to the medium!) and also about pride, and the original images put an interesting spin on that. Seeing different types of leaders and monarchs (un)dressed this way not only humanizes them but the lesson of their stubbornness instantly clear here. I actually think if the monarchs were completely nude, minus any undergarments or accessories, that it wouldn't impact us as much either, since we're so desensitized to different forms of nudity (at least in photography) these days.

The women in particular are interesting because they're neither sex objects, nor artful and appreciated nudes. While they're funny to us looking on, they're not at all funny to the exposed character. They're not being exhibitionists either, they're just trapped in their pride so it's a very interesting twist on how we usually see the undressed form.

It's so clear, that despite initially being swindled, these rulers aren't in a gullible state at this point, they're stubbornly prideful. And defensive. (Check the body language!)

It's also a very unique way of thinking about the fairy tale that I haven't seen tackled elsewhere (tackled - oh dear! lol). In these images it's very clear that if you were to take away their scepters, crowns and other accessories of station they would, indeed be bereft of any tokens of psychological armor and be mortified.

One of the great things about excellent art is that is makes us think of familiar things in a fresh way. Mr. Sabrese has a unique way of seeing people's "armor" and exposing it for what it is: take a look at his Hunger Pains, The Emoticon Project or Office Wear and you'll see what I mean. (And while you're there, click "appreciate this" to let him know we are very glad he is sharing his art and point of view.)

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