Sunday, June 13, 2010

E.F. Kitchen - Suburban Knights

One of powerHouse Books' new releases is E.F. Kitchen's photo book

Suburban Knights: A Return to the Middle Ages.

There is a group called The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). The members of this group are devoted to re-creating the arts and activities of the Middle Age in the present such as large scale mock wars, in which they wear period armor and engage in physically rigorous combat. They meet by the thousands on vast fields, wearing full body armor and forcefully striking one another with rattan swords. SCA has more than 30.000 members worldwide and over 16 "Kingdoms" in the United States alone.

From 2003 to 2005 E.F. Kitchen photographed and interviewed the SCA fighters on their battle fields. Using a modern camera wouldn't be suitable for this project. Instead she used a large format 8" x 10" camera with antique lenses with some defects. She made custom platinum prints from the negatives to achieve this unique and antique look. When I saw the photographs in this book for the first time, I thought they were somehow old etchings or drawings from ages long, long gone. I guess this is how photographs would have looked like in the Middle Age, if photography had existed.

This is a fascinating series of portraits of people who live otherwise ordinary lives as, for instance, real estate analysts, housewives, restaurant managers, many are retired and so on. When they are in their armor they become their alter egos, like Sgt. Duncan the Monster, Count Darius Jaxarticus or Honorable Lady Bridget Lucia MacKenzie.

There is also a video preview of Suburban Knights available here

© copyright all images E.F. Kitchen, from the book Suburban Knights

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