Celebrities often have very different public and private personas, and we rarely get an intimate look into who they really are. We try, certainly—just look at paparazzi and tabloids—but photographer Andrew H. Walker had another idea. While at the Toronto Film Festival, he asked 51 A-listers to share two sides of themselves in front of the camera. One demonstrates how they are in public while the other peers inward towards a side they might not show.
The settings for Walker’s diptych photographs were sparse. They “were given nothing but a bare table with a mark of tape,” which was the dividing line between their two selves. Once they crossed it, they could transform, and each had their own way of interpreting Walker’s request. Some, like Jeffrey Tambor, seemed nearly the same and simply removed (or put on) his glasses. Other actors showed great contrast. They would get up from their seats, turn their back towards the camera, or slump in their chair—all while their other side appeared friendly.
“In a bigger sense, I think the project spoke to actors in general,” Walker told Daily Mail. “For them it’s a constant struggle to figure out how they live their life outwardly and inwardly at the same time—and how they rectify those two places.”
We’ll never know which persona represents the public and private side of a celebrity. Walker didn’t tell them which side of the photograph was which—we’re instead left with the mystery. It forces us to reconcile that despite the revealing portrait, the actor will always remain unknown to us.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look into Walker’s project:
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Krystina Puleo.
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