Alex Prager is an American art photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Her photographs primarily use staged actors, models and extras to create “meticulously designed mise-en-scène often described as film-like and hyperreal. Prager’s growing filmography expands the fictive realities of her still works, touching upon themes of alienation and the pluralism of modern life.
While in Melbourne installing her exhibition at the NGV, Alex Prager took some time out to speak about how she first became interested in photography, the natural transition into filmmaking, her love of and fascination with her hometown of Los Angeles, and her continued passion for constructing human melodramas.
There are numerous reasons why photographer Alex Prager has gained such success and adoration, but one standout factor is her ability to make viewers see the world for its busy but dressed-up glory. She does so by setting a scene, something similar to daily life but eerily unfamiliar. The photographer creates sets to do this, but it’s a set you’d unknowingly walk past, a bus stop or a cinema crowd cast full of friends, family and the famous. It’s this mix of the real and the staged that’s seen curators at the world’s largest galleries fall for Alex, alongside the rest of us. You can’t help but stop and stare at an image by Alex Prager.
- Research similar artists and practitioners. Do not only look at artists whose work is visually similar, also examine artists whose motivations are similar to Prager.
- What is meant by the term mise-en-scène? Are all photographs a form of mise-en-scène? Make two images one that conveys a mise-en-scène while the other is ‘less constructed.’ Consider the constraints of doing this. You may also want to think about the term mise en abyme.
- What are the specific components that go into a constructed image? Consider some Alex Prager images and what elements make up the sense of these images being understood as ‘constructed.’