Photographer Profile ~ Alex Prager

Alex Prager (American, born 1979), a self-taught photographer, takes her cues from pulp fiction, the cinematic conventions of movie directors such as Douglas Sirk and Alfred Hitchcock ( and the work of acclaimed photographer William Eggleston.) Resembling movie stills, her unnerving photographs—crisp, boldly colored, shot from unexpected angles, and dramatically lit—feature women disguised in wigs, dramatic makeup, and retro attire. Focusing on the actress’s face to capture one intense emotion, Prager engages in the construction of images that are intentionally loaded, reflecting her fascination with and understanding of cinematic melodrama. [via MoMA]

Alex's work was recently exhibited at MOMA as part of the 'New Photography 2010' exhibition.

*Click on images for larger view

Behind the Shot: "Since my mum had recently come back to live in LA, I used her in lots of the pictures, as well as her friends. I did a lot more setting up than usual – it was as if I was making a movie. I often watch old films for inspiration; if I like a scene, I'll pause it and take pictures of it. I don't remember the name of the movie that inspired this – it was a scene with Marilyn Monroe getting out of a taxi in the rain. I thought it looked beautiful, with her bright blond hair and yellow dress. I didn't want to recreate the image. I just wanted the idea of the rain and the taxi.
I shot this on the streets of LA. As I was using lights and a rain machine, I needed a permit. I'm really not used to doing things that way. I wanted a liquor store with a bit of colour and a quaint, old-fashioned feel. I drove around LA for three or four days looking. LA is so huge I can usually find what I want eventually.
The woman, Irene, was a friend of my mum's. She'd been a model in her 20s and was used to being taken care of. But we didn't have much of a budget: there was no trailer for her, the car was a fake and leaked. We couldn't control the rain machine, so she kept getting soaked; she was miserable and didn't want to get out of the taxi. I wanted her to look behind her like she was looking at something mysterious but the water was pounding down so hard she would only look down, to stay clear of all the leaks. I was trying to direct her with a walkie-talkie and she couldn't hear me. It was nuts.
And then she looked up for one second and that's the shot I got. Her face was perfectly lit. There's a lot of emotion in there – that's because she was unhappy for real." ~  Prager

Alex Prager was born in Los Angeles in 1979. She was raised by her grand- mother in a small apartment in the suburb of Los Feliz. Her nomadic upbringing saw her splitting her time between Florida, California, and Switzerland without truly settling down long enough for a formal education.

Behind the scenes of Alex's photoshoot for BOTTEGA VENETA

Bottega Veneta SS'11 AOC with Alex Prager from BootLegs on Vimeo.

Accustomed to running a one-woman show on her shoots, where she usually plays photographer, stylist, set-designer and everything in between, Prager was ensnared by the collaborative nature of creating a film. “It’s like taking every art medium and melding it into one,” she says. “It’s incredible!”

Here are some fantastic shorts by Prager that were influenced by film classics.


The Invisible Man

See more of these shorts here

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