THE page to go to for Leonard Nimoy photography. "In November 2008, Leonard Nimoy was at R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts, to begin his latest photographic journey: Secret Selves. We gathered 100 subjects from all walks of life: artists, clergy, politicians, business owners, and asked them the question, Who do you think you are? Each subject was recorded as Mr. Nimoy interviewed them and created a portrait of their “alternate identity.” The results will be revealed in a major exhibition beginning in the summer of 2010."
For an interview about Secret Selves go to: internal Link
Here Leonard Nimoy demonstrates how he find out about the people's secret self. Scroll down for the videos and the link to the Mass MoCA - article
The participants in the projects share their secret self with Leonard Nimoy before getting their images shot.
Scott Fischer: "I am actually a children's book illustrator". Amanda-Jean Ward: "... I had to be grown up all the time..." Leonard Nimoy: "And now you want to be the kid you didn't get to be." "Yeah."
James Helfin: "I'm a writer and a musician... I write journalism about music the most part." The other self is a mad scientist. "An atomic pile, this is a nuclear blue thing.... it turns blue." LN: "Where did you find it?" "I built it myself."
Emmy Howe. Leonard Nimoy: What were you doing before you are sheep-farming?" Emmy Howe: "I taught for 17 years". "So, you became a different person?" Emmy Howe: "I'm not there, I am becoming .." LN: "You are working on that?" "Once you meet sheep-farmers you know how much there is to learn."
Nancy Kromka: "Technically I'm an esthetition. I consider myself an artist always, I try different things, that's my story today as I push myself on new experiences that people wouldn't expect of me." LN: What's that part about the wig?" "That's part of my standing here." "You are not wearing a wig." NK: "Yes, I am." LN: "You are? Can we see what's underneath?" "Sure." LN: "Why are you wearing a wig?" "It's just fun. It's a different role which I think you would understand. You try something."
NK: "And clothing." "What's about the clothing?" "It's paint." LN: "Do you change a lot?" "Some days I change four or five different times. - Different jobs, different roles."
Valdorise Janas. LN: "What's your secret self?" VJ: "I always call myself 'The Secret Whore'." (laughing)
LN: "The secret whore?" "Shy, secret." LN: "Where is it from?" VJ: "Playing with my brother. That's somebody we made of." .... Leonard asks her about the meaning of each tattoo and she explains what they stand for.
Lisa Perlbinder. Leonard Nimoy: "What are you doing?" LP: "I'm director of communication at ..." "What's your mission? What are you trying to accomplish?" LP: "To make people think that ... is a great place and that .... the students are very successful." LN: "So this is a development program?" "It used to be fundraising, now it is development, now it is a ... ." "I see. What's your training?" "Advertising and video. ... My secret self is that I am always busy telling everybody else's stories and this is an opportunity to tell my own, but my own story comes from all the stories that I have heard or experienced. And you know I work in the media and ... it's all in the books. So, I couldn't be here my secret self without them." "Shall I take your glasses?, Okay."
Nathalie Crawford: "I became a specialized foster-care mother. ..." LN: "Are you nervous?" "I think so." "Why?" (holding her hand) ... "What is your secret self?" NC: "I finally got back my soul that I thought I have lost. I came finally over this man and I divorced him and I want to go on with my life. ... I am a survivor."
Kathleen McGovern LN: "So what's with the chain-saw? You are a phsychotherapist." "I am." ... "I always have been single, so I am the typical husband-and-wife-unit. ... the inner pitbull comes out. ..." LN: "You kick the tires." "That's right."
Matthew Mittchell. LN: "You paint portraits of Americans who have witnessed war in Iraque and Afghanistan. How do you find them?" " ... word of mouth ... research... I'd rather not be thinking of war at all. I'd rather live a simple life in the woods, nature ..."
LN: "If you were a tree what would you look like, Matthew?
Michael Kusek. LN: "This outfit you are in today is because [quoting] 'I sometimes want to look ..." MK: "Tougher than I am." LN: "Tougher than you are? ... What do you do?" "Marketing." "What are you market?" MK: "I market anything, mostly art though, it seems. ..." Let's see how tough you can look!"
Joseph K. Hermann: "I was in the US Navy." "How old are you?" "27." "You look very young for 27. How long have you been in the navy?" "6 years, I was a sonar tech. ... This is a superman coat my grandmother made me when I was born." "When you were born?" ... "She made it for you because?" JH: "I don't know ..." "You took the cape wherever you went?" "It's been everywhere. I had it in the locker in the ship." ... LN: "Put up your arms as if you were flying like a superman."
Tammy Two Tone. LN: "Saying 'Tammy Two Tone'?" TTT: " 'Tammy Two Tone', that's the name I use. You are an ex-marine, sometimes stand-up comedian, who works with behaviorally ... children. What does this mean?" TTT: "They are children with serious behavior problems, very violent, aggressive, ... trying to get them to a point where they can survive and live in a more normal environment without acting out in a way which is gonna hurt somebody. Be themselves, that kind of thing." "Fights?" "Yes, constantly." LN: "All day long?" "All day long." "How do you deal with that?" "That's a good question." "What do you do?" "Just day by day. I laugh a lot." LN [quoting]: " 'But I'd rather be Rita Heyworth'. " "Well I do sand up comedy as Tammy Two Tone, the dancing I don't do." "What's the humor about when you stand up?" "About being trans-gendered. Sometimes it is normal every day stuff. ..." LN: What kind of crowds do you get? Do they enjoy the comedies, are they respectful, are they ridiculous, are they terrible?" TTT: "They are everything."
David Dunn Bauer: "Hello." LN: "Hello, nice to meet you, Rabbi. You are a reconstructionist?" "It shows, doesn't it?" "No, I was told." "Yes, I am." "What does that mean? Beyond reform." DDB: "It means politically beyond reform, it means liturgically somewhat between reform and conservative." "Let me see what the yamaka says. ... it says "Boston.." ... You brought some candles? I want to shoot some pictures while you are lighting that, so, hold on just a second, Rabbi. .... We try to get at some sense of inner secret self. What do you think about that?" "None of that is a secret, it just doesn't get to come out that often." ... "This is somewhat secret. What do you normally wear?" "Anything from a suit, ..." "Tie" "Suit and tie." LN: "Are you comfortable in that?" DDB: "No, this is what I wonna be wearing underneath all of that." "Okay, good."
Paul Du Bois Jacobs. LN: "You actually are a chosen book writer. What are the titles?" PABJ: "Picture books, My Subway-ride, My Taxi_Ride, The Deaf Musicians, ..." "The Deaf Musicians? That's interesting. What's it about?" PDBJ: "It's about some deaf musicians who practice music on the subway." "Have you ever taken a lesson with the violin?" "Never." "Never. So, who's violin is this?" PDBJ: "I've borrowed it from my three year old daughter..." "So, can you pose as if you know what you are doing? ... You look appropriately inauthentic. Look here - perfectly wrong."
Dawn M. Faucher. LN: "You are a Junior league president. What does a president do?" DMF explains her work and shares her personal history. "My inner self would be: Meet me in the street, I'm a fighter." .... "Would you take a boxer stand? Would you know how to do this? ... that's what I want."
Aimee Ross. LN: "Where did you grow up?" AR: "Albuquerque in New Mexico where Buggs Bunny always makes a wrong left turn." LN (laughing) AR shares her history and, when asked about her facial hair she says: "It's natural, I don't have any imbalance, it's completely natural."
Barry Moser and Ike are welcomed. BM: "I don't know what Ike is going to do." "Ike can do whatever he wants, it's okay with me. ... How do people know you?" BM: "A lot of people know me because of the dogs. Dogs have been a part of my life since I was born. ... there is a camaraderie that isn't there between human beings.
Robin MacRostie. LN: "...You are a graphic designer. And a caregiver Whom do you give care to?" "My spouse." "What kind of care does your spouse need? What's his problem?" RMR: "Parkinson's" "And you are a member of a dance group?" "Dance Generators" LN: "Dance Generators. And a some-time activist. What kind of activist?" "Mostly guerilla theater type activist." "What is this outfit?" RMR: "This is something I designed for a piece." "For what?" "For a piece that I did. A dance-piece. A creature I imagined that has wings and was possibly emerging like an insect into a different form." "Morphing." RMR: "Yes, morphing."
Christopher Carlisle. "What do you do?" "I am a priest." "Do you have a congregation?" "I work on campus." ... "At the college?" "At university." "What do you teach?" CC: "I teach 'belief', it started on epistemology, the nature of knowledge and knowing, and I sort of propose it to the university because they never have any true conventional religion." "Whom are you bringing us today, to show us, to photograph?" "There is a dark side to me and it is difficult to express that in context." "Have you ever come across evil?" CC: "Oh, I think all the time. .... there is something very frightening about the void you sometimes see in oneself. "
Kris Badertscher. LN: "Where are you from?" "I originally came from San Francisco, spent half my life in New York City." What are you doing now?" KB: "Being an artist." "What kind of art?" "Clay. ... I ... objects that we trow away: Bottles ...." "Do you paint it in the original colors?" "No, I paint it with sceneries, birds and trees ..." .... LN: "What's the idea of this outfit?" "It's kind of a cross over between masculinity and femininity." "Okay" ... "Coming to this tattoo, the fish." KB: "The fish represents my split personality. One going one way, one going the other way." LN: "Do you change character frequently?" "I don't change character. I just definitely have two different sides come out every day." "Are you comfortable with it, do you enjoy it?" "Very comfortable, very, very comfortable."
Ira Yellen: " ... I am also a collector." "What do you collect?" "All kinds of art, paintings, sculpture, photography. I have about 3.000 pieces." ... "What's this outfit?" IY: "Merlin." "Merlin, the magician." "A wizard." "What is a wizard?" IY: "A wizard is like an alchemist. The also take illusions and makes people think they are real. Not quite a magician. .... Think of the Wizard of Oz: Believe in yourself."
Martin Espada & Clemente Gilbert Espada. "Hi, Leonard, that's my son." LN: "Yeah, I see that. How old are you?" "Fifteen." "What are you studying?" "Mostly acting. I did a bit of performing at high school." "What kind of acting are you doing?" "Mostly Shakespeare at this point." .... LN: "... Kid Twist, what's that all about?" "..... he was a gangster in Brooklyn and actually notorious because he made a deal to testify against the head-murderer and co-operated. And he mysteriously went out of the sixth floor of the .... hotel. .... He was a hit man." LN: "What is it about that you find attractive?" ".... to be able to fight and defend yourself. He did it with style, charisma, poetry." "What is the shark thing all about?" "It is really bizarre. .... the top of the evolutionary chain. It is really bizarre. It's an android shark with a bear-arm and it shoots lazers I think. And the shark likes crime .... "
Carla Gudeon & Caitlin Nitz. LN: "What's the Judaica art that you do?" "Hand-mold and colored engravings with really bright water-colored, really bright colors that a lot of people don't even think they are watercolors." "Is it provocative?" "They are NOT provocative in any way, my secret self is provocative." ..... LN (About the work): "... it's meaningful." "It's meaningful, this is a great word to put it." "So, what are you bringing here today?" "She is gonna pose and I will add some finishing touches to this piece. This is my secret self which creates work like this." "Okay, I shoot pictures, you do what you do."
Paul Gulla. LN: "You identify with John Henry?" "Well, I know that drive, that feeling of a nurture when you have that determination and everything you've got until you succeed." "Give me a hammer and a piece of steel. Hammer will be death of me. - And it was." "PG: It was! ... I start to become more of a Budhist and I start to realize that the self isn't there, it's counter-productive. But that drive doesn't go away." "the drive does not go away, but the Budhist says: '... " PG: "Let it go." "Do you take classes?" "I take a ten day meditation retreat in summer which is ten hours a day no talking, no eye-contact, ... and as a salesman, that was hard. ... I saw my mind as a spoiled child, rebelling. ... "
Leonard Nimoy: Secret Selves Link to Mass MoCA article:
Inspired by Aristophanes' theory that humans were once double-sided creatures with two heads and multiple limbs before Zeus cleaved man in two and left him forever struggling to be whole again, Nimoy's photographs reveal his subjects' other half. Shooting in nearby Northampton, Massachusetts, Nimoy recruited volunteers from the local community with an open call for portrait models willing to be photographed posed and dressed as their true or imagined "secret selves." From the popular rock star and superman to the more unexpected dog lover and Pan, these various secret identities (off-line avatars as they might be described) offer an intimate, sometimes humorous, and often profound new look at the residents of Northampton and the inner yearnings and fantasies that we all share.
Accompanying the large, life-size photographs is a video documenting the artist's conversations with his subjects and the poignant, personal moments he masterfully elicits from his unlikely muses.