A Closet Full of Stories:

My photos will be published in LensWork's "Seeing in SIXES"

Photos © Paul Cotter Photography

For the past three years, LensWork has invited photographers worldwide to enter an annual competition called Seeing in SIXES. (LensWork is hailed in some quarters as the world's premier fine art photography magazine.)

All submissions for this competition must include a series of six photographs -- no more, no less -- that are grouped around a visual theme or which work together to tell a cohesive story. The winning entries are published in an elegantly designed, sumptuously printed book of 300+ pages.

The good news:  LensWork editors have just notified me that my submission was one of 50 projects selected from what they called "an astonishing number of entries."

Here's a look at my photographic series titled The Closet, along with the text I wrote to accompany the images. My photos and text will appear in a six-page spread in the 2018 Seeing in SIXES book, which will be published in September.


A closet can be many things:

A metaphor for a secret life.

A graveyard for things collected.

A book filled with passing chapters.

A mirror reflecting who we are.

This is my closet. These are my stories.

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The Jersey

My high school football jersey. A faded memory of the reckless bravado of youth. I was a 130-pound starting safety on our varsity football team, hurling my body at 230-pound fullbacks. What was I thinking?

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There was a time when I was intent on climbing the ladder as a creative director in the advertising agency world. There was a time when I favored crisp pima cotton shirts that were professionally laundered. I left that world behind to go freelance and focus on photography. My shirts nowadays are softer, looser and very rarely ironed. A much better fit for me.

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10 years ago, I walked into a hat store in Dublin, Ireland, and bought a pair of fedoras. My blazing love affair with hats began, and those two Irish fedoras multiplied like rabbits – spawning a closet filled with wide brims, stingy brims, bowlers, porkpies, flatcaps, outback hats, panama hats and Greek fishing caps. Yes, I love hats.

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Once upon a time I wore ties every day to work. Then came casual Fridays. Then every day became a casual day. When we moved across country, I rolled the ties up and put them in little boxes for the journey. They’ve never left the boxes.

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Places visited, teams rooted for, the name of a favorite Irish pub – it’s all here on the hoodie sweatshirts stacked on the top shelf of the closet. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere where it was hot all year-round. When cool fall weather comes, it’s nice to pull on a sweatshirt.

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Tennis Racket

Playing tennis used to be one of my favorite things, and it’s something my wife and I loved doing together. Shoulder problems forced me to put my tennis racket away for good. It’s a bitch getting old.

If You'd Like to Order the Book

Click here to learn more about the publication and to order online through LensWork. The 312-page book will ship in late September, and if you pre-order before Aug. 31, the price is just $25 plus shipping. (Regularly $34.95 plus shipping.)

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~ Paul