Viola Van Wilde
For his series Burlesque, photographer Sean Scheidt captures the transformative process of ordinary people into larger than life performers. Presented in diptychs, each portrait reveals how, with a little makeup and a change of clothes, a person can become someone else entirely.
From unassuming portraits of ordinary men and women to bold and provocative stage performers, Scheidt sees the series more as a transformation than merely a ‘before and after’ photo shoot. He has been working on the project for over two years and has seen all kinds of people pass through his studio. He uses a basic black background and a simple light setup to keep the focus on his subjects. He asks each person to arrive looking as they do on an average day and has them bring an outfit that encapsulates their burlesque persona. He finds that his subjects tend to be more reserved in their first portrait but they completely come out of their shell and own the place once they have put on their stage personas.
These transformations are much more than a change of clothes, assures Scheidt. “They are becoming something else here,” he says. “That something else might show another aspect of their personality; it might be who they really are or it might be for the sake of a statement.”
All images © Sean Scheidt