Artist Jason Langer writes: “In 2014 I was introduced to a group of night performers in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Portland has a buoyant and burgeoning nightlife and is known for its population of exotic dancers, circus artists, drag queens, vaudevillians, and neo-burlesquers. I was glad to be invited to photograph this group of people whose lives are very different than mine. I also saw it was a good opportunity to make my first group of color pictures. Coming off a body of work photographing nude men, where the later pictures started to include pictures of the men’s faces, I thought to continue to find that dividing line between pictures of the universal human form and the individual personality. These performers seemingly had multiple personalities.
“In almost all instances I was invited to the performer’s homes and brought a simple backdrop and lighting with me. I was wowed by my sitter’s colorful costumes and makeup. I was interested in their alternate stage names and personas. Ego and personality appeared effortlessly malleable to them. My curiosity led me to find out who these people are and to try to capture images of their personas just when they let their guards down. Due to their colorful feathers I call this group of pictures ‘Exotic Birds.’ Adding to the undoubtedly ‘Portland’ nature of these pictures, the prints are toned in black Stumptown coffee, punctuating the noir of the imagery. The surface has been sprayed with a protective coating which includes ‘Iridescent Pearl’ pigment, giving the print a delicate and glittery patina.”