To photographer Michael Ensminger, his Zottelbart (meaning ragged beard in German) self-portrait series is positively operatic, an ongoing aria kept alive by the ever-lengthening hair on his head and face, which he hasnt cut or shaved in eight years.
During that period, hes made periodic trips to the foothills, particularly in the Mount Evans area, for assisted shoots of himself, naked and long-haired, in a variety of neoclassical poses that look to have been pulled from a book of Maxfield Parrish paintings...only in black and white. But thats all soon to end, he says. When the series reaches about 100 images, hopefully by spring, he plans to shear his locks and Billy Gibbons beard in what he imagines will be a work of ceremonial performance art.
Will Ensminger miss the hair when it goes? My hair and beard are so much a part of my identity, he says. Since I was a teenager, Id have long hair, and then Id shave it, and then Id grow it out again. But its now become more interesting to me as an art event. Ive been portraying archival human things that hark back to Renaissance times or to images of ancient Greek or Roman figures. Yet I look pretty much like a bum in real life. The irony in that, he adds, is significant.
Before its all over, though, you can see the evolution of the series when Zottelbart Encore opens tonight at Pattern Shop Studio, 3349 Blake Street, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. The show continues through November 7; get information at www.patternshopstudio.com or call 303-297-9831.
Sept. 3-Nov. 7, 2010
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