In these photographs, artist Joseph Alexander (from Los Angeles, U.S.) utilizes special effects makeup, retouching and digital manipulation to give his portrait subjects a surreal and sometimes alien look. Each of the three series here has a unique concept and meaning, but Alexander’s style is apparent in all three.
In the series Homage, Alexander has taken self-portraits that show him after an act of (simulated) self-harm. By showing himself with his throat slit or a bullet hole in his forehead, he pays respect to inspirational artists who have ended their own life. This series is poignant, yet unsettling. “Swedish researchers have recently concluded that creative individuals are more susceptible to suffer from mental disorders, depression and more likely to attempt suicide. Their creative process functions as therapy,” said Alexander.
In Abiogenesis, named for the scientific term for spontaneous generation of life, Alexander plays with the ideas of androgyny, intersexuality, and inter-species sex and hybridization. Alexander also did the make-up for this intriguing and alluring shoot.
For ōrāre, Alexander was inspired by religious garb and voodoo queens. The title ōrāre comes from a Latin word meaning speak or pray, which is also the base of the word “oracle.” These photos also focus on high visual contrast, with the dark-skinned model shown in bright white clothes against a white background.