Portfolio: Miguel Vallinas' striking portraits reveal the animal within us


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The Independent Culture

These are not photographs of animals dressed in human attire. They are, says Miguel Vallinas, "Human portraits that reveal the animal within us."

A companion piece to his earlier series "Skins", for which he photographed himself in the attire of various professions, from matador to mechanic, to explore "the inner reality of a man", the 50-plus photographs that make up "Second Skins" reflect upon the choices we make in our outward appearance, and what they tell the world about our character.

"Our clothes reveal what is locked within us," Vallinas suggests. "Certain people," he goes on, "wear certain clothes to differentiate themselves from others. But when they meet people dressed the same way, they form herds. Our clothing is like the fur of animals."

To create these images, the 42-year-old, from Valladolid in Spain, first photographed volunteer models from various walks of life in his studio. He then shot animals – occasionally pets (for his very first, he used his dog Leo – "he was what I had at hand") and farm animals, though largely taxidermied ones he found in museums and private collections – and merged the images with those of their human counterparts to "dress" them in the clothes he felt were most befitting to their mien.

These second skins, he continues, "suggest options, possibilities and ultimately choices" of interpretations of our finery that might not be so open to us if they were standard portraits.

For more: miguelvallinas.com