Book of Fears
"Always do what you are afraid to do."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Book of Fears evolved from an ongoing curiosity of people's aversions and obsessions. What makes a person afraid? When does that fear become a phobia? And why am I so afraid of clowns?
This project was created during the coronavirus pandemic which has caused significant fear amongst many. Since I did not have the luxury of shooting on location with models, I chose to use characters found on 19th-century cabinet cards as my models, placing them in fictional settings. The challenge became revitalizing these anonymous historical figures in staged environments that would showcase the desired fear, while at the same time ask the viewer to examine their own anxieties and fears.
Working with psychological subject matter, I gained awareness of illustrating feelings that are both real and imaginative. For those with the fear, it is a very palpable situation, for the observer on the outside it sometimes presents more as an emotional response. My personal fear of clowns, comes down to two possible speculations. One is that I am uneasy because I can't see the clown's true face under the makeup. Facial expressions help us to understand another person's emotions and motivations. The second theory, clowns are always joyous, laughing and playing around and as a rule we tend to distrust people who are always happy.