Best Work by an Emerging Photographer | Nominee

Horia Manolache

San Francisco/USA

The Prince and the Pauper


Photographic diptychs of homeless people showing them as they are and as they dreamed to be.

This project aims to reflect the idea of success, and the way the construction and the deconstruction of the image of a person affects the reaction of the viewer as well as of the viewed subject.

It comes from my inner experience, from the trouble that I have and have often had as a shy person who wants to project a different image of himself. I recently remembered, that as a child, I used to create costumes that represented different characters, and that after dressing up in them, I would involuntary take on playing a role. I believe I was attracted to both the inner and outer change a costume gives you, and how you can feel safe being yourself behind a mask. Future experiences made me wonder what the criteria of showing a person as successful are.

So I thought I would depict the contrast between who is considered the most unsuccessful person of our society: the homeless person and their mirrored image, the role which they dream to be. A common reaction of my models is to play a role when they are in the costume, so I began to wonder myself, do we, the rest of the people do this? Do we play the role that our costume gives us?