Written by Malak Nour
Dear readers, welcome Back to Art Bits! Have you ever felt disenchanted with the world around you? As if your reality is not enough? Many times, real life can feel mundane, boring, static, heavy, depressing, etc. However, through art, some people manage to add a touch of magic; turning the awful into awesome, the mundane into majestic. Let me share with you some photography projects that exemplify how art can transform our reality.
First off is photographer Nicolas Bruno’s artwork. Bruno’s sleep paralysis is what launched his creative journey. Being a sufferer of a sleep condition (that immobilizes the body while it’s in a state between sleep and wakefulness), Bruno experiences vivid auditory and visual hallucinations that used to have a strongly negative impact on him and his life. A turning point is when he decided to re-enact the scenes of his nightmares, creating art from their existence. The results were the haunting, filmic photos; soaked with the dark and heavy mood of his experiences. Through his photography, Bruno transforms reality into the nightmares of his experience; empowering himself through the sense of control this process brings him.
Our second photographer is Elizabeth Gadd. Gadd is a self-taught photographer, who having grown up in Vancouver, Canada, has an immense love of nature which has been with her since childhood. Through photography, she aims to display “human interaction with nature in a positive and peaceful way.” Gadd herself, describes what she does stating: “I, uh… shoot landscapey stuff… with people in them.” And that’s exactly what she does, but in a form not as simplistic as her sentence. Most of Gadd’s work consists of self-portraits in stunning landscapes. Her minimalist compositions, in the presence of her grand surroundings, imbue her photos with a sense of magic, serenity, and oneness with nature. The mood and atmosphere of her photos add a glimpse of the supernatural to the natural, where she’s immersed.
Last, but definitely not least, is a photography project called “A Roman Tale” by O art-studio in our very own Alexandria, Egypt. This project by photographers Adel Essam and Henar Sherif has recently went viral amongst Egyptians on Facebook with most users expressing their love of it. It features several models roaming the streets of Alexandria in Roman attire and style. More than anything, what’s special about this project is its idea. It was as if Alexandria’s Roman heritage has been brought back to life and restored exactly as it is, but in a modern setting. The placement of the Roman characters with their ancient aura in modern locations that are very familiar to Egyptians of this day, like: inside a tram car and in front of a graffitied wall, gives off a certain sense of uncanniness that makes the project interesting. This contrast between the old and the new is, I think, what really stands out in this project, and is reflected in its description: “Once upon a time, A land was a portal of time between two worlds.. Alexandria, the land of the Romans, the city of God”.
“Once upon a time. . .
A land was a portal of time between two worlds..
Alexandria, the land of the Romans, the city of God.”
Despite being very different from each other, those three photography projects share one thing: they transform reality. Nicolas Bruno’s haunting photos fuse nightmares into reality, Elizabeth Gadd’s scenic self-portraits transform reality into a dream, and O art-studio’s “A Roman Tale,” brings us an uncanny, alternate reality. Above all, these three projects share the fact that they are works of art – the very thing that gave them the power to transform reality in the ways they do.
Which of the three projects stood out to you the most? Have you come across a photographic project that has added a twist to reality? Let me know in the comments below!
-“Interview with Elizabeth Gadd” by Angela Butler. Phlearn. https://phlearn.com/magazine/phlearn-interviews-elizabeth-gadd/
-“Sleep Paralysis Inspired This Artist to Photograph His Nightmares” by Creators. YouTube.
-“Interview With Nicolas Bruno The Sleepless Photographer” by Peter House. Fstoppers. https://fstoppers.com/originals/interview-nicolas-bruno-sleepless-photographer-7958