“How do people entertain themselves?” asks Paris-based photographer Priscillia Saada. Priscillia poses this question both in conversation and her artistic photographs. Her work captures ephemeral moments of human expression, asking “How do we keep ourselves distracted so we don’t fall into boringness? How do we spend our time?” The photographer also presents a sense of play in her work and her images don’t seem staged, despite the fact that all the visual components including models, clothing and scenery all appear to be perfectly put together.
“I have a fascination for the nonsensical activities that we do to keep ourselves entertained," the photographer tells It’s Nice That. "I like to watch people do things that don’t make sense to me.” Incongruous activities make their way into Priscillia’s photography; knotted limbs intertwined in a childlike game, expressions captured mid-sentence, dangling fruits shared amongst sets of teeth. Such images by the photographer fill the spreads of the latest Badland issue.
More specifically, the idea for Priscillia’s shoot for Badland revolves around “a group of teens lost in a fancy suburb.” The shoot fulfils the photographer’s vision to create “a general feeling of joyful awkwardness”. The images are dreamlike with intense, saturated colours that make up the moody scenarios. “I wanted to create different scenes with no link between them except for the sense of atmosphere”, explains the image maker. And indeed she achieves a transportive series of photographs through the blend of background scenes of dense foliage and high fashion garments.
As for the narrative of the shoot, Priscillia leaves this up to the viewer. She likens her creative process to that of a comic book saying, “When you read a comic, you fantasise about the characters and the story. I like to the viewer of my pictures is also creating a story freely. Their own distraction from reality.” She also sees shooting editorial photography “like writing an uncompleted story” that requires imagination from the artist to plant the seeds of the storyline, as well as thought from the onlooker to interpret said storyline in their own way “according to their own emotions.”
The natural quality of the images comes from the transparent relationship between Priscillia and the models she directs. She says, “The models play the most important part in my pictures so it’s necessary they understand the mood.” The palpable atmosphere can be felt through the pictures and comes as a result of Priscillia’s direction to “help them create a character that fits in with [her] visions.” A highly versatile photographer, Priscillia’s aptness lends itself to commercial and personal work as she brings an individual art direction to every new project she encounters.
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