Photographer Bob Carey's much anticipated compilation of self-portraits in a tutu will be available September 2012. Ballerina, a hard cover 9 x 12 book with a foreword by Amy Arbus, showcases color photographs and back-stories about the journey behind the images. The captured images present both impertinent playfulness and vulnerability, themes that run thoughout 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 Lindato provide support to women diagnosed with breast cancer and their family members.
Carey has always had a unique approach to self-portraits. In 2002, when he was asked by Arizona Ballet to interpret what ballet meant to him, Carey donned a tutu and took a bow. He continued using this pink piece of tulle to express himself and in 2003 this quickly turned into a way to cope with his wife Linda's breast cancer diagnosis. When he realized that these images helped her, and others dealing with this disease by bringing laughter into their lives, The Tutu Project was born. The project has received worldwide acclaim and helped fund the self-publishing of Ballerina.
The Carey Foundation's mission is to provide financial and therapeutic support to women diagnosed with breast cancer and their family members. We raise awareness with the help of The Tutu Project, a photographic journey of a man and his tutu, created by photographer Bob Carey and his wife Linda. The Foundation will seek to alleviate the stress and burden of breast cancer so that individuals can focus on life.
Ballerina, coming September 15, 2012, can be purchased at www.thetutuproject.com. It consists of 144 pages/color photographs.
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 & 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. Bob travels extensively across America looking for the perfect tree, putting green, cow pasture, airplane storage lot, construction site, forest or boardwalk. He climbs a fiberglass palm tree with blue palm fronds at a hotel in Wildwood. He waits for a subway in Brooklyn that will never stop. In Monument Valley, he walks with trepidation on a road to nowhere.