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April 18, 2014

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Sights Unseen

Leila Navidi - Behind the curtain

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Leila Navidi

DON’T BE SCARED: It’s just Aaron Methvin, dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo, on his way to visit patients at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in July.

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009 | 2 a.m.

Sight's Unseen: Leila Navidi's Behind the Curtain

THREE, TWO ... Showgirls, from left, Johanna V., Kari Richards, Jennifer Speelman and J.P. Howard before the NASCAR race in Las Vegas in March. Launch slideshow »

I am always trying to get behind the curtain. Whether the curtain is real or a metaphor — like the orchestration of an event or invisible social barriers — when I take photos I’m always trying to get on the other side.

Sometimes it’s a matter of persistence and patience, like following a manager at Madame Tussauds wax museum up the elevator as he takes the figure of Michael Jackson upstairs for storage on the day the pop star died.

Or waiting more than 20 minutes for Michelangelo, an oversized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, to emerge from the elevator after getting into his costume to visit children with cancer at Sunrise Hospital.

Sometimes I simply change my perspective — turning the lens around onto the crowd, for instance, when I noticed a baby in the front row at an Aerosmith concert. Or, while wandering around at a NASCAR event, seeing showgirls primping for a stage appearance.

And the moment might come when someone else peeks from behind the curtain. That’s what happened during a Lucha Libre match, when I spotted a luchador stealing a glance from behind the very real curtain that separates life’s scenes.

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