Alex Prager: Filming Photography

Who is Alex Prager?AlexPrager1

Alex Prager  is an American art photographer and filmmaker who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her photographs primarily use staged sets and models to create “film-like” images that invite a myriad references, not only to the history of Hollywood and photography, but also the cinematic image in art contexts. The subjects of her works, exaggerated and costumed, some times “hyper-real” speak to the ambiguity of seduction and spectacle.

Prager didn’t have any formal or degree in photography, and the way he discovered his passion is very unusual. In an interview with American Photographer he says:


I was working as a receptionist at the time. So I started going to museums and art shows, and wanted to see if I could draw or paint. When I was 21, I came across the Eggleston exhibit at the Getty Museum. Within one week, I bought a used Nikon N90-S and equipment on EBay – from a lady who was divorcing her husband and getting rid of his stuff. It cost $80 and came with a manual on how to use darkroom equipment.

What i find interesting about Alex Prager is about her technique of improvement. She would take a couple of picture, develop them until 3 or 4 am and then hang them in the laundry and by that she would see that the stolen pictures would be the liked ones. I find that as being a very guerrilla way of examining your skills.

Prager’s photos have a very cinematic and captivating feel to them in another interview with American Photographer she tells the public why:

I try to create a slight exaggeration of real life – something that is more intense and dramatic. A heightened representation of real life, like a parallel universe. Much of the filmic feel in a still photo comes from the lighting: Your lighting is really cinematic, so is Gregory Crewdson’s and so is mine. Your work reminds me of the movie Wings of Desire: it has that glow to it, but in dilapidated old scenes, and the subjects look like angels. I love the lighting from Hollywood movies of the Golden Era, from the movies of the 1920s until the 50s. With that kind of lighting, anything can happen. It draws you in. There can be a lot of dark things happening – things that might not have been pleasant to watch, but the lighting aestheticizes them and makes watching the movie irresistible.



Prager’s latest series, Face in the Crowd, debuted at Washington D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery of Art. Shot on a Los Angeles soundstage in early 2013, the large-scale photographs feature dense crowds in public spaces. The series also includes a 10-minute three-channel video installation featuring Elizabeth Banks. For the shoot, Prager personally selected and dressed friends, relatives and 150 extras, and used a Hollywood sound stage to represent places where people gather: city streets, a movie theater, a beach, an airport. Described as portraying “in-between-ness, a nonspace through which we are obliged to pass”,this series reflects the complicated and contradictory emotions and disconnections associated with crowds.

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