Gordon Stettinius is a man of many faces. He's a photographer and adjunct professor by trade — but he's also been known to moonlight as a country singer, a wholesome-looking governor, and a weirdo in a guayabera with a killer 'stache and a scraggly combover.
Why does he do this? Contrary to what you might think, it's not to hide his true identity, but to make it more memorable. According to Wired magazine, Stettinius started using portraits of his various alter-egos when following up with professionals in the photography industry. It's self promotion. Mullety, mustachioed, mascara-laden self-promotion:
For the past five years, Stettinius has sculpted beards, raided wardrobes and spray-tanned his way into over two dozen alter-egos. Made in collaboration with studio photographer Terry Brown, the Mangini Studio Series features a leather-clad punk, a clean-cut governor, a wrestler and '80s diva among others.
Described by Stettinius as "a prank run amok," the Mangini Studio Series grew out of Brown and Stettinius' shared nostalgia for the studio session.
"We are content for the image quality to be more like that of a promotional glossy from a generic portrait studio than as a fine art print," says Stettinius, "The cheesiness quotient is pretty high."
That may be true, but that doesn't make his disguises any less impressive, or any less convincing. It's pretty remarkable what some carefully sculpted facial hair, a new coif and a wardrobe remix can accomplish when it comes to human facial perception. After all, Stettinus' face, itself, is obviously the same in every single one of his alter egos, and research suggests that our brains extract most information about identity from the eyes, mouth and nose — but the combined illusion goes a long way toward making him look like an entirely different person.