Other People’s Clothes

Cable Cole
Other People’s Clothes

Caleb Cole, (b. Indianapolis, Indiana), 9 photographs from the series Other People’s Clothes, 2007-2012, Archival pigment prints, Museum purchase, The Dorothy Johnston Towne (Class of 1923) Fund 2019.22-.29, Gift of the artist and Gallery Kayafas 2018.290

Other People’s Clothes, a series of photographs by Caleb Cole begun in 2007, examines gender, age, sexuality and identity. Though Cole’s physical body is present in all the photographs, he does not view the works as self-portraits. Instead, they are depictions of people Cole has never met “but with whom [he] feels familiar.” Each figure is a character, representing a variety of societal roles and types. His physical body becomes a place holder, the “common denominator” in each of the works. By depicting the same body with different expressions and clothing, Cole allows the character to come to the fore. The clothes represent the “outside world,” or the persona people don for society. Cole’s facial expressions are meant to contrast the public appearance, hinting at the inner world of each character. These photographs illicit powerful reactions among viewers, ranging from laughter to shock to sadness. Nine works from the series were recently acquired by the Davis Museum.