I recently discovered the fascinating work of photographer Alison Jackson, who ostensibly shows us celebrities caught unawares, causing us to do a double-take. Here we have, for instance, a typical morning in the Cruise household:
Or is it? In fact, she uses lookalikes to create private moments that fill in the gaps of our imagined celebrity landscape. It's an intriguing study of our perceptions of celebrities and how we feel we know them.
It's easy to blame the media entirely for this phenomenon. But, as a former student of Psychology, the psychological aspect of a phenomenon is always of interest to me. And, according to the research, celebrity culture is merely playing to our innate tendencies, not creating this phenomenon. Basically, our brains don't realize that seeing a face on TV or in a photograph is not the same as actually meeting that person in real life. While our brains were evolving, anyone with a familiar face was considered an "in-group" member, and, therefore, someone who it was important to keep track of. Obviously, due to our saturated media culture, we now can recognize hundreds or thousands of people that we have never actually met, nor will likely ever meet. However, our wiring hasn't changed, and so, on some deeper level, we really do feel that celebrities are our friends (or enemies I suppose, if our values are vastly different).
All in all, it's a fascinating topic, and to that end, here are a few more of my favourites:
Martha in jail:
Bush choking on a pretzel:
Mick doing a spot of ironing:
Bill Gates dancing with his ipod: