Featured in the New York Times, New Yorker, The Guardian, and in exhibitions around the world, Maybe is Toledano’s startling response to the unexpected death of his mother in 2006.
“When my mother died, it made me realize that you don’t have any control over your destiny at all,” said Toledano in an interview with the New York Times. I became quite fearful of what sharp turns life had in store for me and what other terrible unforeseen things might happen.”
He decided to confront his fears of death and aging head-on, by photographing his “future self” in various stages he could imagine himself experiencing at the end of his life. But how does one photograph the future?
To start, Toledano took a DNA test to determine illnesses he was likely to get. He consulted with fortune-tellers, hypnotists, and researched insurance company statistics. He then sought the help of Adam Morrow, who specializes in makeup and prosthetics for movies.
“I worked with a skilled prosthetics expert, so I could physically become my future selves,” he writes on his web site. These “future selves” include a homeless man, a stroke victim, an Upper East side socialite, and other characters. The result is a book, “Maybe,” published by Dewi Lewis, and a short film by Joshua Seftel documenting the creation of the photographs that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, “The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano.”
“For years, I’ve been drawn to Phil Toledano’s inventive approach to photography and the way he connects to ideas,” said Samantha Johnston, Executive Director of CPAC. “His photographs question our understanding of beauty to what lies ahead for our future selves. We’re thrilled to bring him to Denver for the special occasion of our grand opening at Ironton.”
Read Toledano’s statement about Maybe on his web site
Learn more about Toledano’s book, Maybe (also available on Amazon)
Sponsored by CPAC and the Society for Photographic Education
About the Artist: Phillip Toledano was born in 1968 in London, to a French Moroccan mother and an American father. He works conceptually, examining themes that are primarily socio-political, although lately he’s strayed into the deeply personal. Because his ideas determine their own execution, he works in various media, from photography to installation and from sculpture to painting. In addition to Maybe, he is the author of several other books, including Bankrupt, featuring photographs of recently vacated offices, and A New Kind of Beauty, a series of portraits of people who have recreated themselves through plastic surgery. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times magazine, The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, Wallpaper, The London Times, The Independent Magazine, Le Monde, and Interview, amongst others. His work is in many public and private collections and has been exhibited worldwide.