NOAR Nordic and Baltic contemporary art platform

Up to the end of November, Fotografika Tallinn hosts an exhibition Welcome Home by the American photographer and film director Alex Prager. The exhibition plays on nostalgia, memories and reconstruction of reality, telling viewers unrepeatable stories to the extent that the melodramatic scenes make the photographs seemingly alive.

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,” described Alex Prager her work.

“Alex Prager’s world is colourful, melodramatic and Hitchcockian. Even though all of her work is staged, Hitchcockian horror and thrill spring from it,” shared 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 seem alive telling the viewer subconsciously what happened before and after the moment captured in a fraction of time