By using a combination of portraits and still life elements, I have been able to create an exploration into the idea of identity and imagination, providing an insight into what it is like to live out your fantasies in everyday life. Spanish pirates, Venetian noblewomen and 11th century Vikings have escaped out of the darkness of the past and are now living in the future, placed on a stage for all to see. Laden with armor, treasure chests, maps and lore, these fantasies show the power of our imagination and what we can create if we dare to dream.
— Amber McCaig
Australian photographer Amber McCaig explores when history and storytelling converge in the colorful and elaborate world of Medieval and Renaissance reenactors. The Society for Creative Anachronism is an organization where thousands of dedicated people are committed to researching and recreating the arts, skills, and traditions of pre-17th century Europe. Members feast, fight, and dress all in the era of their choosing, often using the transformation to alter their own personalities and temperaments. Here one can choose who they wish to be and often craft a ‘hyper’ version of themselves in a way unavailable in everyday society. McCaig’s interest in this transformative identity plays out in painterly photographs full of dark, deep tones and stoic poses. The mixture of portrait and still life act as potential clues to who these characters may be and every detail is constructed with great care. Unlike the every day social struggles and pretensions, Imagined Histories is a world where the past and future can be all one’s own.
Imagined Histories is currently showing from November 6-23 at the Edmund Pearce Gallery in Melbourne, Australia. McCaig also recently won the Ballarat International Foto Biennale portfolio review prize for the same work.
This post was contributed by photographer and Feature Shoot Editorial Assistant Jenna Garrett.