Fotografiska Tallinn

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Alex Prager

Welcome Home

11 September, 2020 — 03 January, 2021

American photographer and film director Alex Prager pushes the boundaries of reality and fiction in her work - to the extent that the melodramatic scenes make the photographs seemingly alive. The exhibition Welcome Home plays on nostalgia, memories and reconstruction of reality, telling viewers unrepeatable stories.

American photographer and film director’s Alex Prager’s exhibition Welcome Home brings together her movie-like photos and short film Play the Wind. All of her works are deliberately staged and cast. Prager loosely refers to a wide range of eras and time periods – 1940s through the 1990s –through the creation of specific characters, settings, scenarios, clothing, hairstyles, and poses. Prager seeks out the darker side of human nature, or reality, sitting just beneath layers of artifice that distract us from what’s important, captured with exceptional technical skill, precision, and an eye for detail.

Prager’s journey to photography started in 1999-2000 when the future artist visited William Eggleston’s exhibition at the J. Paul Getty museum. Eggleston’s use of color and ability to make the mundane impactful became an important source of inspiration to Prager. She decided to become a professional photographer and the very same week she got her first used camera and darkroom equipment. Eventually, she got into the world of filmmaking and directing, using her network after a lifetime in Los Angeles to work with a team of specialists in costume, make up, and lighting, as well as actors. Prager’s photographs and films are meticulously planned out and theatrical, often concentrating on the tension between reality and fiction.

“I was moved by pictures that had a piece of the artists' life force trapped inside. I felt that was what drew me to William Eggleston’s work in the first place, otherwise they would essentially just be snapshots. When I decided to do photography professionally I was committed to figuring out how to put a piece of myself in the work I was making. I love to put my references directly in my work, and are always taking inspiration from the questions I have about my life and the state of society. The darker side of human nature, or reality, sitting just beneath layers of artifice that distract us from what’s important,” describes Alex Prager her work.

“Alex Prager’s world is colorful, melodramatic and hitchcockian. Even though all of her work is staged, Hitchcockian horror and thrill spring from it,” shares Maarja Loorents, Fotografiska Tallinn’s co-founder and Exhibition Lead how special is the upcoming season for the photographic art centre. “Scenes pictured on the photos make them seemingly alive telling the viewer subconsciously what happened before and after the moment captured in a fraction of time.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Alex Prager’s (born 1979) inherent connection to Hollywood and her love of cinema, is as obvious as it is fascinating. Describing the city’s Wild West quality of no rules as one of her greatest inspirations, Prager started with guerilla style photography and film and then moved into more elaborately staged tableaux’s inspired by her personal life and the state of society. Alex Prager has won an Emmy Award (2012) for her short films Touch of Evil.

Alex Prager’s exhibition Welcome Home awaits visitors at Fotografiska Tallinn from September 11th till November 29th. In addition to photography it is possible to see her newest short film Play the Wind.

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Septembrist ootab Fotografiskas uudishimulikke vaatajaid Ameerika foto- ja filmikunstniku Alex Prageri näitus “Tere tulemast koju” (Welcome Home). Külastajatele avaneb näitusesaalis filmilik väljamõeldise ja reaalsuse vahepealne maailm Prageri fotoloomingu kui ka lühifilmiga “Mäng tuules” (Play the Wind).

Prager käib oma loomingus vabalt ümber viidetega erinevatele ajastutele ja perioodidele alates 1940. aastatest 1990. aastateni. Ehkki kõik tema tööd on lavastatud, õhkub nendest Hitchcocki filmidele omast õudust ja põnevust. Fotodel kujutatud stseenid muudavad pildid elavateks, jutustades vaatajale alateadlikult, mis juhtus vahetult enne ja pärast murdsekundi jooksul jäädvustatud hetke.

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