Thursday, September 20, 2012

Estelle Hanania and Phyllis Galembo

Photographer Estelle Hanania

Photographer Phyllis Galembo

Phyllis Galembo's fascination with costume began as a child, when she would go trick-or-treating near her home in Long Island, New York, often alone, dressed in a variety of ensembles made by her mother.

'I still remember the bric-a-brac that she used to fashion my outfits,' Galembo says. 'This is where my lifelong obsession began. I collected Hallowe'en costumes for over 15 years.'

After studying photography and printmaking at the University of Wisconsin, in the 1970s she began photographing subjects wearing festival costumes. 'I have a lot of pictures of my friends as upside-down Easter baskets,' she says.

Then, in 1985, she travelled to Nigeria to photograph priests and priestesses with their traditional costumes and ceremonial objects. 'I was fascinated by the idea of ritual clothes that had spiritual, transforming power. I followed the story to Haiti, where the priests and priestesses of voodoo are believed to transform via their clothing into magical beings. Once I discovered the Jacmel Kanaval [Haiti's pre-Lenten festival], I felt I had found my metier in the masquerade.'

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