When you visit photographer Alex Wallbaum’s website, the first tab is a collection of still life images that use set design, lighting and often dry ice to create a shot like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The images are the result of a creative partnership between Alex and Aleia Murawski whose joint vision creates photographs that are surreally stylish.
Based in Chicago, the duo met back in 2014 while working at an art studio in the city. “Our collaboration has always been very conversational,” the pair tells It’s Nice That. “One of us will find an object we are excited about that can become the focal point of an image – we then build a composition around it in an improvisational way using objects we have collected from around our studio.”
By collecting and curating relatively random props, when looking at Alex and Aleia’s photographs you gradually begin to notice familiar items in a curious setting. “Inspiration can come from a strange dream one of us had the night before, a movie we hadn’t seen for a long time, or what was for lunch that day.” Working in such an ad-hoc way means that Alex and Aleia have developed a very unique sense of style, one that is in equal measures absurd as it is considered.
To develop an idea the pair “often find ourselves making diptychs because it forces us to push the narrative of one idea while still using accessible objects and similar subject matter”. A recent collaboration between the pair is an image of the most relaxing bath time experience imaginable. Equipped with bubbles, a glass of red, a slice of cake and a window that opens directly onto a beach, the piece for Chroma magazine sums up Aleia and Alex’s uncanny creative sensibilities in one shot. "We try to be light and playful in everything we do,” they say, “even when the subject matter is unsettling or raw.”
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.