Synopses & Reviews
In this stunning book, photographer Brian Howell takes us into the world of celebrity impersonators—the faux famous people who make a living at pretending to be someone else. Taken at various impersonator conventions and stage shows throughout North America, the photographs are both startling and poignant—for all of the frivolity and double takes ("Isn't that Paris Hilton?") there is also a sense of the real person beneath the makeup and the artifice. Accompanying the portraits are first-person narratives by many of the subjects, many of whom feel personally close to those they are impersonating, even if they have never met them. In addition, in two essays, cultural critic Norbert Ruebsaat looks at the history of celebrity culture, and Geist magazine editor Stephen Osborne delves into the nature of photographing impersonators. As such, the book investigates the nature of fame in this era of celebrity blogs, stalkerazzi, and reality television—and how our obsession with famous people says as much about us as it does about them.
Subjects include impersonators of:
Mike Myers (as Austin Powers)
George W. Bush
Mike Myers (as Dr. Evil)
Anna Nicole Smith
"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you $50,000 for a kiss and 50 cents for your soul."-Marilyn Monroe
"Washington is Hollywood for ugly people."-Chuck Todd, Hotline.com
"Fame: It's only a punch, a drug bust, or a public defecation away."-Adrianne Curry, winner of the first America's Next Top Model
Why do we care so desperately about famous people? In this stunning book, photographs of celebrity impersonators are juxtaposed with narratives and quotations dealing with our cultural obsession with fame, in an era in which tabloids and gossip blogs reign supreme, and personalities like Paris, Lindsay, and Jessica are superstars because of-not in spite of-their personal lives.
Brian Howell's amazing photographs, taken at impersonator conventions held throughout North America, feature an array of would-be stars-from fat Elvises and Michael Jackson " la mug shot to the real wedding of Arnold Schwarzenegger's impersonator to Shania Twain's. The photos'startling intimacy hints at the artifice of celebrity culture, in which the idea of celebrity supersedes all else, and the accompanying essays and quotations reveal the true power (and cost) of stardom.
Photos, narratives, and quotations on the nature of fame and celebrity.
About the Author
Brian Howell is a photographer whose work has been exhibited extensively in Canada, the U.S. and recently in Italy; his first book, One Ring Circus, was about small town wrestling circuits. He lives in Delta, BC Canada. Norbert Ruebsaat is a poet and a communications professor at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC Canada). Stephen Osborne is the publisher of Geist, an award-winning cultural magazine in Canada, and the co-founder of Arsenal Pulp Press.