Identify a subject. The subject must have a quality I want to investigate. I analyze this quality and then translate the insights into my own being and everyday life.
Develop research about this person: who they are in public, who they are in private, how do they dress, and how do they speak? How did they become who they are?.
Start sketching (in my mind or on paper). Think about the feeling I want to capture about them. What is that hidden quality I want to borrow (learn from) them; within my own being–that exploring their persona will invite this quality into my life; grow it and nurture–make it part of my emotional lexicon, or the range of emotional treats/ palette I can have?
Get myself in front of the camera and–still being myself–become them. Shoot…see myself in that mirror or that photograph, see the potential of that investigation in my life…
As I develop them, I’m inspired to use these characters as a way of exploring my own psyche–as a way of telling my own story. Mostly, I use clothes that I wear in my daily life that exist in my closet. I only allow myself to buy a wig or basic materials to compliment what I have (make-up is a good one). I make these choices to ground these personas in the real–they are as much a part of me as they are a fantasy. They exist within myself and I’m giving myself permission for them to exist in my world with my clothes, to offset the items I buy and the DIY pieces I construct for them.
Sometimes I wish I could wear them out, but they are only for myself. The only tool for sharing is their photograph. I dress up for myself. The ritual of manifesting these personas is as important as the research. I’m not myself without them, however, neither I am them. It is the process of becoming them– of giving birth to them–that transformation heals and liberates me.