Ed Barnas

Portraits in Performance, Performance in Motion
Images from the Burlesque Revival

Brooklyn native Ed Barnas has been photographing for a number of years. His interest in the neo-burlesque movement began in 2003 and grew out of a series documenting public costume/masking events such as the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, adult Halloween parades, and SantaCon. While these events offer people a chance to break away from everyday roles, they are limited to only brief periods of time.

While many performers have the opportunity to step out of their skins on a regular basis, most do so in the service of a character created by another. The burlesque performer, however, is more often the creator of the character she (or he) presents. This makes these performances much more personal and evocative events (and often ephemeral).

Ed was drawn to make a record of these performances and transcend basic documentation to capture more of the essence of the event (i.e., seeking the incisive moment rather than the decisive one). The images in this series include a mix of those capturing the still moment and those capturing the moment in motion. Ed tries to be unobtrusive when photographing the performances, usually staying off to the side and using available light whenever possible to preserve the look and feel of the performance and the space. Ed has photographed in a number of NY venues as well as at national events such as the New York Burlesque Festival, Tease-o-Rama, and the Exotic World Pageant. More of his work can be seen on his website (www.edbarnas.com) where he also posts a calendar of current burlesque shows in the New York area.