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Inside Every Stormtrooper Is A Beating Heart

Full confession: This blogger is much more of a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan than a Star Wars junkie. But as long as you fall somewhere along the spectrum of sci-fi geekdom, you'll probably think these pictures are pretty cool.

Photographer Evan Prince was so excited to take these portraits that he started planning his trip to the Star Wars Celebration VI convention in Orlando, Fla., over a year in advance.

"I kind of nerded out and made a PDF of all the characters," he said on the phone. "But then I realized that all these different bad guys look really cool and decided to photograph different kinds of Stormtroopers. That's the story I wanted to tell."

(He later clarified that they are not all Stormtroopers per se but are indeed some form of Imperial personnel.)

Shooting with a Hasselblad, Prince was able to isolate the characters against a simple background by lingering in hallways away from the main event. People in costume walked by, and he asked them to pose briefly — not as the character, but as themselves.

Which is perhaps why, despite the masks, the characters seem to convey a great deal of emotion through their body language. It's almost as if these baddies came prepared to fight but then found themselves utterly alone. Now they appear lost in thought, contemplating an empty hallway in Orlando.

And who are the people behind the elaborate outfits? Prince says he doesn't know — he only spent a few minutes with each person — but that each one, men and women alike, were deeply dedicated to the authenticity of their costume — and to helping the saga of Star Wars live on.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Coburn Dukehart

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