Seeing the work of L.A.-based photographer Alex Prager in a recent issue of New York magazine, I couldn’t help but be drawn to its weird vibe of retro unease, with pictures that serve as minidramas that conjure a bit of Cindy Sherman colliding with Alfred Hitchcock. The photos in Compulsion, the series from which they are taken, are lingeringly eerie, leaving the viewer both shaken and stirred.
Her photos are staged almost like a motion picture, providing the basis for “only about 40 percent of the image,” Prager told New York. “I’m using it as a foundation, in the same way a painter might: adding clouds, adding a car.” She actually bought the Chevy in 2:00 P.M., Interstate 110 (below right) and submerged it in water before digitally “sinking” it into the original photograph; the final image remains similarly lodged in the mind.
With photos already in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney, Prager, 33, has also branched off into film (a natural progression one would say), and a short piece, La Petite Mort, can be seen along with Compulsion at galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and London until the end of May.
Among the goals since the beginning of this blog has been to try to hit all the “marks,” so to speak, as far as creative heroes whose work has impacted me in ways I carry around to the present day. I’ve been meaning for some time to get around to one of those who multitasked in the entertainment category, Barbra Streisand; I think the occasion of her 70th birthday this month is more than perfect timing.
It’s a vivid childhood memory; everyone has one, a moment when a movie star or pop star or whatever star is etched in your mind in a way you understand is permanent. Such it was with me at the age of nine, seeing Funny Girl for the first time in a dark and cavernous 1960s movie theater, like so many that disappeared with the advent of the multiplex. I was mesmerized by what I saw (and heard) on the huge screen; so much so, I stayed for a second showing (guess I was spared the typical kid’s ADD), despite its clocking in at nearly three hours – with intermission.
As the encomiums for this real legend (not a throwaway description here) follow in April, I think of Streisand as such a constant along the road of life, with unbound admiration for her artistic courage, tenaciousness, and passion. But most of all the talent. Continue reading
An apple tree is adorned with 10,000 Easter eggs in the German city of Saalfeld, a tradition begun in 1965 (with a mere 18 eggs) by a local resident, Volker Kraft. The Eierbaum (as it’s called in German) has blossomed into an annual event over the years, drawing thousands of visitors from around the region. The eggs — many crocheted, painted, or embroidered with pastoral and religious scenes by Kraft’s wife Christa and daughter Gabriela — are months in the preparation; storing them has become a bit of a problem, though, and this Easter may see the last of new creations for the now-famous arboreal attraction.
(Photo: Martin Schutt /AFP/Getty Images)