“Costume is the distinctive style of dress of an individual or group that reflects their class, gender, profession, ethnicity, nationality, activity or epoch.” (Wikipedia)
A costume serves as a marker of belonging, gives reference to the past and draws connections to the present. Today, costumes set the wearer apart from the mainstream dressing culture of our days where we all more or less look the same. Costumes are a dedication to heritage, conformity and belonging while at the same time serving as an indicator of difference.
To me, Costumes express that romantic longing for simplicity and safety and celebrate sentimentality for past times long lost. Being and living local has become something desirable again, roots hold you in place in disturbing times like ours.
This work before all is about my feelings towards the subject matter of home or 'Heimat' as it is called in German. When after years of staying abroad in ‘foreign' places and cultures I returned ‘home' I did not feel very much 'at home'. Did I not have a sense of belonging? Was I not part of the ‘local' culture after all? Yet I felt very much out of it.
I decided to photograph something that stroke me as ‘local' to create for myself the chance to get to know my surroundings better.
This is how I got interested in women wearing costumes. Making this work ultimately is my very own way of trying to make myself more familiar with my own ‘localness’ through meeting people who enjoy their sense for belonging and heritage in a natural way without prejudice and irony.