New York, NY – Photographer Bob Carey’s much anticipated compilation of self-portraits in a tutu is now available. Ballerina, a hard cover 9 x12 book with a foreword by Amy Arbus, showcases color photographs and back-stories about the journey behind the images now made world famous by “The Tutu Project”.
The captured images present both impertinent playfulness and vulnerability, themes that run though-out much of Carey’s work. The project has taken Carey from Italy to Times Square, and he hopes to turn the photos of himself into an inspirational force behind breast cancer awareness. Net proceeds from the sale of Ballerina will go directly to The Carey Foundation, a non-profit organization established by Carey and his wife Linda to provide support to women diagnosed with breast cancer and their family members.
Ballerina retails for $50.00 (plus $12.95 S&H in the USA). Non-USA residents can contact us directly for a shipping quote.
A Preview of the Forward by Amy Arbus
Bob Carey is completely disarming, both with his kindness, and his candor. He is a big, warmhearted teddy bear of a guy, full of eagerness and humility, and deeply smitten with photography. In 1993, well into a successful advertising career, he began a series of self-portraits that exposed a man in both physical and emotional distress. These images consisted of strangely shaped heads created by wrapping himself in monofilament fishing line or by hanging himself upside down with “an engine hoist apparatus.” He often frequented a nearby salvage yard in his native Phoenix, Arizona, subsequently painting himself silver with a talcum powder-like make-up, wearing either a smooth aluminum cover over his face or two lighting fixtures as ears. The effect of the images is startling – a person who is part man, part machine. Although his black and white film was spectacularly exposed and the photographs themselves expertly printed, they are challenging, in particular because of said, “When I was wrapping myself, although it hurt, it was almost comforting, like being held.” For the viewer, each photograph looks like a test of his pain threshold. I think of him as “the escape artist of photography.”
In Ballerina, Bob appears reborn. The series, which began in 2003 as he and his wife Linda Lancaster-Carey were driving across the country, moving from Phoenix to Brooklyn, New York, is comprised of super-saturated color self-portraits that achieve an almost surreal effect. They feel child-like in their innocence, and illustrate Bob as a man with an endless fascination for life. In the photographs, Bob is always alone, outfitted in a pink tutu: praying at the ocean in Coney Island, lying in a hotel room in Wildwood, New Jersey in a single of twin beds, otherwise naked on a snow covered street in Brooklyn, or with his head in his hands at the school bus parking lot in New York. He is often running away from the camera, remote in hand to trip the shutter, jumping for joy and caught in the stop action of daylight strobe. Sometimes his gestures are repetitive, but the images he captures are anything but. He is a master of intriguing point-of-view, lighting and poetic metaphor. When his father Gene helped him setup the photograph, Shuffleboard, Arizona, he announced proudly, to anyone and everyone, “That’s my son.” When this project began, Bob’s personality was apparent in the images, not necessarily his face or likeness. As time passed, the locations became more elaborate and, in turn, he became smaller in the frame. Bob has said of using himself as a model,” I’m always available,” but as the series progressed, he acknowledged, “It’s not about me anymore.”