I’m feeling compelled to keep looking at these images. It’s a Cindy Sherman and Alfred Hitchcock love child, wrought with melodrama and vintage appeal. Alex Prager has a show up at Yancey Richardson Gallery starting this week. April 5-May 12
“Prager became a photographer during a postadolescent panic, when she suddenly feared that her life might turn out boring. She’d traveled in Europe and never got around to attending high school, and back home in Los Angeles with a GED, she was working dead-end jobs. “I found myself 18 years old without a normal background and realized I could be working as a receptionist my whole life,” she says. “I was very unhappy and had gotten myself into debt traveling on my credit cards and buying my friends sushi all the time, and I had this moment when I realized it wasn’t a temporary situation that would disappear when my real life began. I needed to do something that I thought was important.” When she was 21, she walked into the Getty Museum and saw a William Eggleston picture of “a pair of dirty shoes under a bed” and knew she had to be a photographer. She went home and bought a 35-mm. Nikon and some darkroom equipment on eBay.
Eleven years later, Prager’s work, full of cinematic sex, death, and portent, takes place in a sort of receptionist’s daydream world, if that receptionist often stays up too late watching vintage melodramas and likes to stare at herself in the mirror while crying. They’re elaborate film outtakes, frequently starring her stylish young friends, as well as her hometown. “Everywhere you look in L.A., you can imagine some sort of drama taking place,” she explains.”