People Watcher Reimagines Himself in Other People’s Clothes


Indianapolis-born, Boston-based photographer Caleb Cole takes on the personas of a variety of people, regardless of gender and age, for his series titled Other People's Clothes. Despite placing himself in front of the camera, the photographer's intention is not to present a traditional self-portrait series. The project, which began in 2007, exhibits a number of characters in a collection of elaborately costumed self-portraits, allowing the photographer to visualize the sorts of lifestyles these imagined personalities would call their own.

The characters that Cole creates are his visual impressions of people he sees on a daily basis in their natural habitats. He says, “They are portraits of people I have never met but with whom I feel familiar, as well as documents of the process wherein I try on the transitional moments of others' lives in order to better understand my own.” The process behind each shot begins with “an outfit or piece of clothing (either bought, found, or borrowed), then a person that [Cole] imagine[s] to fill those clothes, and finally a location where that person can play out a silent moment alone.”

The photographer openly admits to having a fascination with observing other people in public spaces and confesses, “I watch people going about their daily routines alone; I wonder about the lives they lead, wonder how they experience the world around them and how they make meaning of it. I spend time inventing stories for them: narratives of isolation, of questioning and searching, of desire, and of confusion.”

Cole has released a limited edition photo book of the series, which can be purchased through his store.

Refinement and Elegance


The Pink Coat




The Last Page



Man with Lottery Ticket



The Hunter

Caleb Cole: Website
via [Laughing Squid]


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at major TV, film, and publishing companies as well as other independent media businesses. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies, reading, crafting, drawing, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
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