How to make the portrait shot more interesting? How about photographing your sitter in position, making multiple prints of those images, folding the prints into a maddeningly complex origami modular construction, placing it in front of the sitter’s face and then re-photographing the entire pose from scratch? Sound complicated? It’s just part of the process for the fantastically talented photographer Alma Haser whose work Cosmic Surgery saw her shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Award back in 2012.
One year later, one Magenta Foundation’s Bright Spark Award under her arm, three exhibitions down and a nomination for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Award for the second year running, Alma’s work is getting more attention than ever.
And we can understand why; her work tempts us in, hinting at a hidden narrative lurking behind the portrait, the unsettling images of mothers holding children with manipulated faces, once familiar, now unnerving, or the young woman looking out of the shot as she transforms into something alien yet somewhat beautiful. So Alma leaves us trapped somewhere between desire and disgust, unsure whether to trust the utter magnificence of the final shot.