Merry Christmas, everyone! We hope Santa brought you everything you wanted today, and that you're enjoying some great time with friends and family.
“The Many Faces of Santa” is an ongoing portrait series that was started in the 2012 holiday season to explore how the iconic and quintessential image of Santa Claus -- red suit, red hat, white beard, twinkle in the eye -- is represented by the amateur and professional Santas in our region who don the transformative attire every year to bring magic and smiles to kids (and adults) everywhere.
Although we know thousands of men dressed in red suits and white beards are running around this time of year, when we see someone playing Santa we all exclaim “Look! Santa!”, not “Look! *A* Santa!”. Each Santa represents the one Santa we hold in our minds. We may no longer believe in an actual Santa that lives at the North Pole and drives a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, but (commercialism and religion aside) we still believe in what Santa represents to us and our inner child -- joy, nostalgia, magic, anticipation.
Our western tradition of Santa Claus partly derives from the very real Saint Nicholas who was a 4th century bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey, and was famous for his generous gifts to the poor. Fittingly, most of the Santas captured here have an underlying, year-round, commitment to community service, and a real joy bringing help and happiness to others -- everything that the “real” Santa represents.
All the Santas here were photographed on-location at their respective events, which were all publicly advertised. Considering their busy schedules and incognito personas, we were very grateful at how accommodating they all were in having their portraits made.
Which is your favorite?
Which one do you think looks most like the "real" Santa?