Alex Prager's "Week End"

The Photographer Creates a Nostalgic, Mysterious World in Her Latest Work

Alex Prager’s latest exhibit, “Week End,” reveals a world where soda pop, polyester, red lips, and the bizarre reign supreme. The series—a collection of portraits of women, both in the studio and as part of scenes that suggest a wider narrative—was shot over the last year and a half in LA (minus a few images, shot in London and Tokyo), just a few blocks from where Prager grew up. The photographer’s career to-date has landed her in the pages of Details, i-D, Tank, and Elle Japan, among others––and, at just 31 and entirely self-taught, Prager’s work is represented in the permanent collections at MoMA and the Whitney in New York. This latest series is a continuation of Prager’s apparent love affair with 50s stylings and unconventional beauties, yet she identifies color as the most defining characteristic of her images. As for her creative impulses, Prager enjoys the surprise of never knowing where they’ll come from: “After every new series I do there's a part of me that thinks that might have been the last idea I had in me, and then something happens and I'm back at it all again,” she says. “I guess that's part of the thrill of it all. It almost seems a bit out of my control.” Ironic, perhaps, as each shot reveals itself as incredibly controlled, contrived and intentional. Though Prager feels each shot in “Week End” tells a story of it’s own, she maintains that together they form something of a bigger picture, coming across like stills from an imaginary, tantalizingly incomplete movie. “Week End” runs from today to July 17 at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London.

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