Published in Wizard Magazine: http://www.wizarduniverse.com/
Acclaimed movie poster photographer Peter Tangen points lens at Real Life Super-Heroes for latest project
There are Real Life Superheroes among us.
All across the country, these solitary do-gooders have been donning costumes and going out into the night for years. Inspired by comic book morality to do the right thing, some fight crime, others work as social activist and still other s patrol the streets, providing aid for the homeless and downtrodden.
So photographer Peter Tangen decided to rescue these everyday heroes from obscurity.
“I read an article in a magazine about a man named Master Legend, a real life superhero working in Florida. AT the time he was basically a slightly overweight man in spandex and was effectively a costumed activist,” says Tangen of his first exposure to the phenomenon. “When I realized there were many of these people all across the country, I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to photograph these guys.’”
For their own Jimmy Olsen, real life superheroes can do a lot of worse than Tangen, who has made his living shooting the iconic images that adorn the movie powers for the “Spider-Man” movies, “Batman Begins” and Hellboy”, among others.
“I realized quickly that the media that had paid attention to them was dominantly mocking them or exploiting them in some way, typically you would find something on the last three minutes of a news broadcast saying. ‘Look at this crazy person,’” says Tangen.
Thus was Tangen’s Real Life Superheroes Project born. Initially intended to be a gallery exhibition of portraits and movie posters benefiting charitable organizations supported by the heroes, the scope of the project has grown exponentially. It now includes a documentary premiering in January at SlamDance (a separate venture which Tangen joined as a producer), the development of an interactive experience with Planet Illogica and the work of hundreds of professionals volunteering their support.
“We have an opportunity to just let this message be out there for people to discover, and we hope those people are simply inspired to do their small part to change the world,” says Tangen.
The Real Life Super-Heroes themselves are thankful for Tangen’s involvement.
“It is a call to action to every citizen. You can do plenty of things to make a difference. You don’t have to wear a costume and you don’t have to go out and punch drug dealers, but you can help the homeless person on the streets or you can call the police when something is going on. It’s breaking that mentality of, ‘Oh, its not my problem,’” says Dark Guardian, a New York City-based superhero, “It is an honor to with Peter to spread that message.”
“We feel like this is a really relevant message,” says Tangen. “They have a superpower, they actually do, and that is their ability to inspire.”