Hollywood Street Characters echo $NewDate; ?> A photography project by Ken Hermann
Behind the mask is a series of portraits of people working as Hollywood street characters on the Hollywood Boulevard in LA.
The street characters make a living by letting themselves being photographed together with the thousands of tourists who visit the Boulevard each day and pay them a small tip to take a shot.
Some performers do a really good job acting as look-alike while others just look like silly grownups in poor and dirty costumes.
Most of the street characters have one thing in common though: They are (or once were) pursuing the American dream – Trying to become someone special and famous. When I first visited the Hollywood Boulevard I was fascinated by the contrast between good look-alikes and poor ones. I also noticed that the success of the street characters wasn’t about being the most perfect character – it also depended upon acting as the most hyped or popular character, and sometimes just having a fun and crazy attitude.
Normally the street characters are pictured with a funny face in lively settings. Instead I tried to capture a more personal expression of the real person behind the mask and in order to achieve that specific goal several of the portraits were also taken in the character’s own home or neighbourhood.