Experience with model testing and a love of theater combine in this "almost spontaneous" mid-1999 shot by Seattle photographer Michael Doucett. His subject is Zaza, one-third of the clown troupe Los Excentricos, traveling performers then appearing with Teatro ZinZanni in Seattle. Doucett was photographing the ZinZanni cast for Resonance, a local arts magazine.
"I do have a connection to these circus people," says Doucett, 33, a Tacoma native. "My family is all involved in the arts: professional artists, makeup artists, musicians. I've always been backstage at concerts or performances."
People told him Zaza (a European performer whose real name is Didier Armbruster) was very reluctant to be photographed. "I think because Zaza sensed that I had been around the business, he let me photograph him," Doucett said. "He's got one of these faces that you see and say, whoa, where did it come from?!" As the audience waited outside, the photographer had "about two minutes" to capture this vaudevillian-clown-with-concertina image.
Commercial work, from model portfolios to fashion and corporate shoots, has helped Doucett hone his skills and discover his style. "I experiment with styles and lighting techniques and bring those techniques to my fine art."Doucett has a love for documentary and travel photography. He's currently putting together a show on Latin America and calls it "a catharsis" for him. "Travel and documentary are very stimulating. I love seeing new people and places."