Yvette Marie Dostatni

Yvette started her career as a photographer at the age of 17. She began working out of high school as a photojournalist for the Northwest Indiana Times. In 2015, she was nominated by Time Magazine as one of only 28 “Unsung Female Photographers of the Past Century.” Her work is included in The Art Institute of Chicago Photography Collection and The Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago Midwest Photographer’s Collection.

She chooses photography because she believes the camera is a passport into other people’s lives. It is a small black metal box that allows her to express in images what she can’t express as a verbally shy person. She loves to photograph friends and strangers alike. Her bodies of work include images from family birthday parties, the neighborhood block party, Halloween costumes in bars she’s never been to before, and people on the street who walk in and out of her life like living ghosts.

The Conventioneers

‘The Conventioneers’ is a culmination of a decade long documentary project that I photographed about people who attend conventions.

I love people who live in the fringes of American Culture. People who interest me grip the skirts of eccentricity. Subjects mirror Abe Lincoln at the Abe Lincoln look-alike convention. They hear the cry of hucksters and hustlers and adorn themselves with ostentatious outfits of $20,000 mink coats and gold-encrusted chalices at the Pimp and Prostitutes ‘Player’s Ball.’

Conventions are pulsating, living time-frames of eccentric individuals who live out their fantasies, dreams and aspirations. They remain, for the most part, undocumented. It is a microcosm of American society. It is an alternative to the daily process of living. Because the world becomes a more isolated place in which people communicate by email and text message, the gatherings of people of similar tastes, ideals and styles is more important than ever.

In the end, my intention is to identify Conventions as an organized topology of cultural values where good taste and the need for excess coexist. It is an event where individuals come not only to exhibit and sell products- from sex to funeral headstones- but to exhibit themselves. They therefore become a place with its own set of underground yet manufactured rules and regulations, costuming and language.

To view more of Yvette Marie Dostatni’s work please visit her website.