October 17, 2012
Photo Opp! Art Star Alex Prager and Fashion Photographer Liz Von Hoene
Two of photography’s young stars, working in alternate universes of darkness and light, host back-to-back lectures in Atlanta
By Nancy Staab
It’s a double-dipper with art star Alex Prager speaking about her Hitchcock-meets-David Lynch tableaux at the High Museum Oct. 23; and fashion photographer Liz Van Hoene explicating her dreamy, whimsical images for Neiman Marcus, Kate Spade and L’Oreal as part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography month on Oct. 24.
Alex Prager: Modern Day Hitchcock
According to 30-something artist Alex Prager, her photography career began with “a pair of dirty shoes under the bed”—not just any shoes—but a vignette captured by famed lensman William Eggleston, which inspired a young Prager, at the Getty Museum. Since then the L.A.-based Prager’s work has been collected by major art institutions from the Museum of Modern Art to the Whitney, and her shots have been reproduced in glossy magazines like Vogue and W. Often, Prager takes the cinema-ready city of L.A. as her homegrown set for elaborately staged, modern-noir scenes that could have been lifted straight our of Alfred Hitchcock or the even darker David Lynch, auteurs to whom she is often compared. (She even re-created a “The Birds” –like scenario for a recent Bottega Veneta ad campaign).
Prager’s dramatic, digitally manipulated and suspenseful tableaux recall the world of the movies and are fraught with impending melodrama, a hint of darkness, sex, desire or danger. Her work also bears resemblance to the cinematic creations of Gregory Crewdson or the celluloid-like self-manipulations of Cindy Sherman. But Prager gives her own inevitable spin on things. Her works are often a heady mix of glossy style borrowed from the fashion magazines, nostalgia, peril or dread, loneliness and a dash of humor. With her cinematic penchant for dramatic lighting, unexpected angles, bold colors, and costumed characters, is it any wonder that the self-taught Prager has recently branched into video art as well? She’s also been inspired by grim tales ripped from the local news, which she then transmutes in to her disturbing yet beautiful work.
Alex Prager’s lecture is presented via a joint partnership with the High Museum of Art , The Elton John AIDS Foundation and Jackson Fine Art. Prager is in town to promote the Elton John AIDS Foundation Photography Portfolio II with an invite-only sneak preview at Jackson Fine Art on Mon. Oct. 22. All proceeds from sales of the photography portfolio, which features works by ten major artists including Alex Prager, David LaChapelle and Tina Barney, go towards the Elton John AIDS Foundation. You can see a preview at ejaf.org/portfolioII .
Alex Prager’s lecture, which will take place at Hill Auditorium at 7PM on the Woodruff Arts campus, is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and must be reserved in advance via the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office: 404.733.5000. Limit of two tickets per person.
See Alex Prager’s film “Despair” starring Bryce Dallas Howard as a suicidal redhead, circa 1960, here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5ZhLzIF5I0
Liz Von Hoene: Style for Miles
She counts Neiman Marcus, Marie Claire, Italian Elle, Target Stuart Weitzman, L’Oreal and Kate Spade as clients; is represented by prestigious international photo agency Stockland Martel; and she happens to work from a studio right here in Atlanta, at BIG Studio at the King Plow Center. Fashion, beauty and lifestyle photographer Liz Von Hoene is a hidden treasure in our midst. Her artistic trademark: warm whimsy, dreaminess and a dash of sophistication. Or as her agency puts it: “To the luxury brands, she bring a touch of playfulness, resulting in images that are both sophisticated and warm. To the mass appeal brands, she delivers a level of polish that elevates them above the fray.” Like Prager, Von Hoene has recently branched into video as well, including an “On Cloud Nine” piece promoting pretty spring dresses for Neiman Marcus. You can see more of her work at www.lizvonhoene.com or www.stocklandmartel.com/vonhoene
Liz Von Hoene will talk about her career Wed. Oct. 24 at 7PM at BIG Studio at King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. NW. The lecture is part of the month-long Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP) fest and the lecture is free and open to the public. For more ACP events visit: festivalguide.acpinfo.org
See Liz’s "On Cloud Nine" video for Neiman Marcus here: vimeo.com/3727031
SEE SLIDESHOW BELOW OF WORKS BY ALEX PRAGER AND LIZ VON HOENE