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Harry Israelson: For Pleasure

Work / Photography

Harry Israelson photographs a renaissance fair in sunny California

The town of Covina, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles hosts the Renaissance Pleasure Faire once a year. Photographer Harry Israelson had driven passed a billboard advertising the event for a number of years and finally got round to making the trip. “What I love so much about living in Los Angeles is that it’s still a city of sun-baked eccentrics; fandom is encouraged and the nerd still very much has a place,” says Harry.

This good-natured series, titled For Pleasure has been created to “celebrate those who simply don’t care what anyone thinks.” Harry has captured knights in shining armour and sleepy maidens at picnic benches, but its the jarring juxtapositions between the old (or fictional) and new that provide the real moments of magic.

“As I made my way through the parking lot towards the entrance, I began to notice festival-goers puling on gauntlets and lacing up corsets; a Knight fishing his helmet out of the back of a banged up Honda Civic. The intersection between these mundane modern realities and the escapism of the past quickly emerged as my guiding theme for the day,” explains the photographer. “So much care is put into separating the fair from the modern world, yet here was a squire on a Samsung Galaxy 7 (yes the exploding one).  Once inside the Fair grounds, I came across a whole community of people, unabashedly being themselves, celebrating their idiosyncrasies, not specific to any one genre. There were wizards, pirates, Elizabethan duchesses, Celtic warriors, Commedia Dell’arte and one or two aliens. Although it felt like I was one of the only attendees without costume, I was still welcomed with the proverbial, ‘Good day, Sire.’”

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Harry Israelson: For Pleasure