Provisional Costumes

Half Letter Press

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Public Collectors publication #78, Provisional Costumes, is a light-hearted, sort of grimy, and sometimes horror-drenched collection of found photos of costumed people. Like some other recent image-centered Public Collectors publications, is the key curatorial tool here. There are 24 photos in all. 

The Photographic Images category on is an abyss. I can lose hours disappearing down that hole looking at snapshot photos. Sometimes I start browsing with a single seller, which may limit the offerings to merely 30,000 photos instead of half a million. That is still too large, but I embrace this dream-like mental space and see where it leads as I wander through the lives of unknown and unknowable people. 

When this publication idea started to form, the photos in sales listings began to resemble booklet pages. I thought about possible pairings and sequences—what I should buy and when I should wait until I found a neighboring photo. I did not start by looking for photos of costumed people, but as I sifted through thousands of images of people dressed for Halloween and parties, I settled on the theme, with a focus on indoor environments. The result is this small publication of photos from many sources, acquired in a few long digging sessions. This selection mainly spans the 1970s to early 1990s. I have certainly worn thrown-together costumes like these in that time frame, in my youth. I don’t know what some of these people were going for, but I like what they came up with.

 — Marc Fischer / Public Collectors
Dimensions: 4.25 X 6"
Materials: Paper book


Half Letter Press


Half Letter Press is a publishing imprint and online store initiated by Temporary Services—Brett Bloom & Marc Fischer, who have published booklets as an element of their collaborative work since 1998. Half Letter Press was created to publish and distribute book and booklet length works by themselves and others, and to use this endeavor to build long-term support and expanded audiences for people that work creatively in experimental ways.