Acting Out: Performances, Debaucheries, and Lies
Portraits of performers by Stratton McCrady
In our internet media age, we witness a growing trend of a traditional performance art in American cities called burlesque, among many diverse kinds of sexualized amateur performance. My fascination lies with the impulses to perform, to titillate, and to join in community consisting largely of women. Modern urban burlesque is a labor of passion centered around dance, costume, and literate, humorous stripping. Production values are optional. No one makes any money to speak of. The practitioners come from almost every walk of life and represent all ages and body types. The only universals are an urge to dance and the desire to act out.
Following in the path of artists such as Diane Arbus and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, this project grew from the desire to study and to illuminate some fringes of local society where I live. Rather than working with these people only in performance, I’ve tried to simplify the details, shooting in and out of studio and focusing on faces, postures, and the simplest of costumes and props. The art of burlesque often explores the progression from clothes to no clothes under the gaze of a hungry audience. I embrace that sexual tension in this work. More importantly, I’ve sought to portray the humor, the generosity, the curiosity, and the beauty of these subjects.
Born: Topeka, Kansas, 1958
Current Residence: Saco, ME
University of the South at Sewanee, TN, Bachelor of Arts, 1981
Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University, Certificate for Professional Photography, 2013
Non-Resident Studio Advisors: Justin Kirchoff, Daniel Fuller
1. Kate, Digital Photograph, 20” X 30,” 2014
2. Living in Exile, Digital Photograph, 20” X 30,” 2013
3. Sweat, Digital Photograph, 20” X 30,” 2014
4. Callie, Digital Photograph, 20” X 30,” 2014
5. Iron Curtain, Digital Photograph, 20” X 30,” 2014