Here is a description how I create a fictive Mindaria character for my photographs.
The face of all characters
Every Mindaria character wears a gas mask and a hood. I use the Israeli Civilian Gas Mask since it is the most pretty gas mask I have seen. I don’t use the filter with the mask since it is not the issue in the photos. The mask is their face. It makes them all look like each other, like insect-like creatures. The mask is impersonal, so the identity of a character is created with clothes, accessories and items.
The type of a character
I start the character creation process by thinking of a certain type of a character, like a detective or a night club singer. I am inspired by the popular culture, books, movies and music and use my intuition how the character looks like. I check what I already have and make a list what I lack of to create the character. I search in the net to find the right clothes, accessories and items. I may find something I instantly know it is going to be worn by a certain character. I like the details match with the big picture. Sometimes creating a character is easy: I have all I need, so I just dress up, set up the studio, and start shooting photos. Sometimes it is difficult: I order things in the net, wait for them to arrive, then while taking photos I realize something just doesn’t match in the photo. Then I try to figure it out and fix it. I may have to change clothes or get new accessories or items to get it right.
The principles in choosing clothes and accessories
I have some principles when choosing clothes and accessories for characters. First, they have to send a message who the character is. It has to be possible for a viewer to interpret and figure out the character. Secondly, the clothes and accessories have to be somehow timeless style or then perhaps the 1950’s style. They don’t have to be real vintage gear since I want them to look new in the photos. Thirdly, I want them to be real clothes and accessories people could wear for real. I mean I don’t want to use costumes just meant for festivals or masquerades unless they were really stylish like those in the Carnival of Venice, for instance. Fourthly, I like if there is a twist in the look, something not so average. It may be a hat or gloves made of genuine leather. Of course the gas mask itself is a powerful contrast with a pretty dress. Fifthly, the complete outfit must look right for the character in the photos. It is actually the most important principle.
How do I know if the character looks right?
Well, I look at the photo and if it pleases me, then it must be right. Then when people see the photo and recognize the type of the character, it is perfect since it caught something universal.
See more photos of the characters in the gallery.