My approach was not to duplicate Nadar's original Pierrot poses, but to update them to reflect our complex contemporary lives: listening to an iPod, chatting on a cellphone, filming a tragic street incident, playing solitaire, eating fast food, taking pain killers, etc. Along with a wide range of emotions from suffering to greed to anger to bravado to whatever, the series, a collaboration with my friend, the performance artist LuLu LoLo, also reflects the uneasy hope and politics of the post-9/11 years. LuLu's brilliant improvisatory skill and always expressive facial gestures challenge viewers to identify and objectify the beauty and absurdities of our media-saturated lives.
The photographs in the Pierrot Series were taken in 1854-5. Nadar hired French mime Charles Deburau (the son of famous mime Baptiste Deburau) to play the character Pierrot in a series of photos Nadar hoped to show and sell to publicize the brothers' new studio. The portfolio was a whimsical catalog of theatrical expressions (surprised, running, imploring, with fruit, laughing, etc.).
Please visit my special website, commemorating Nadar's 200th birthday on April 6, 1820.
Nadar was already self-referential in 1854.
The series is signed toned black and white digital prints (uneditioned—for now).
In August 2008, a few weeks before the birth of my son Max, LuLu and I explored what we would later create the following year. In the writing studio of the U.S. Custom House, we practiced poses and I experimented with lighting.