Unseen Features

Cinematic Photography with Alex Prager

23 July 2012 Foam Magazine Foam Talent

Cinematic Photography with Alex Prager

© Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

The work by Los Angeles-born and self-taught photographer, Alex Prager (1979), has often been considered 'cinematic'. Her interest in art began at adolescence, but it was not until her early 20s that Prager began to focus solely on photography. Since then, Prager has contributed to publications including New York Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Dazed and Confused, i-D and Tank, has published several photography books and has been featured in solo-exhibitions around the world, including The New Photography group exhibition at MoMA in 2010. More recently, Prager was award the prestigious 2012 Foam Paul Huf Award and has been nominated for an Emmy Award for The New York Times Magazine film series 'The Touch of Evil'. At Unseen, Michael Hoppen Gallery will present work by Alex Prager.

In 2010, Alex Prager was one of the selected young Talents in the quarterly photographic magazine Foam Magazine. Featured in the magazine (issue #24 / Talent) is the series Week-end (2010). In the interview with Marc Feustel, Prager discusses where she has found inspiration for her work, from William Eggleston's colour photographs to the city of L.A. to Alfred Hitchcock and the era of the 1960s/70s. "Today everything is gray, black and neutral, whereas in the 1960s and 1970s there were brighter colours everywhere. I use elements from that era because I find them much more aesthetically interesting and beautiful".

3:46am, Milwood Avenue,
from the series Compulsion, 2012 © Alex Prager/Michael Hoppen Gallery

A recent recipient of the prestigious 2012 Foam Paul Huf Award, Prager's latest work will be exhibited at the photography museum Foam from 31 August. The award annually recognizes a young, promising international photographer under the age of 35. On display at Foam will be Prager's latest series, Compulsion (2012), which has previously been exhibited at Michael Hoppen GalleryYancey Richardson Gallery in New York City and M+B Gallery in Los Angeles. Reminiscent once again of her cinematic aesthetic, "Prager's new series investigates the complexity of observation within a society inundated by compulsive spectators, as well as the recurrent discourse in photography - that 'meaning' is often derived from a multiplicity of gazes". Her latest film, La Petite Morte (watch the trailer), and several film stills will be also be exhibited.

4.29pm Van Nuys, 2012, from the series Compulsion © Alex Prager/Michael Hoppen Gallery

The jury of the Foam Paul Huf Award commented, "Alex Prager thoroughly deserves her place in the company of former Foam Paul Huf winners, which is fast becoming a who's who of contemporary photographic practice". Previous Foam Paul Huf Award winners include Raphael Dallaporta (1980, France) in 2011, Alexander Gronsky (1980, Estonia) in 2010, Leonie Hampton-Purchas (1978, UK) in 2009, Pieter Hugo (1976, South Africa) in 2008 and Michael Subotzky (1981, South Africa) and Taryn Simon (1975, USA) in 2007. In the video below, Simon Baker (chairman of the jury and Curator of Photography at Tate) tells us why Prager was this year's Foam Paul Huf Award winner...

Don't miss Alex Prager's work at Unseen Photo Fair, to be exhibited by Michael Hoppen Gallery. Be sure to pick up a copy of the latest Foam Magazine # 31 / ref.  with Prager's work on the cover in addition to featuring photographs from the series Compulsion and an article by founder and editor of contemporary fine-art photography blog Conscientious, Jörg Colberg.