Courtesy Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul.
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Marilyn, 2010. Photograph by Alex Prager.
“This is my mother. I’ve used her many times in my films and photographs. She has a timeless look that I love to photograph and she’s an incredible actress. She can control her emotions as easily as a puppeteer pulls strings. The first time I photographed her I think she was disappointed because she thought it was going to be more of a traditional portrait shoot, but instead I had smoke billowing from the top of her head and asked her to express grief. It was a turning point for our working relationship because once she realized that it wasn’t a beauty shoot at all but more of a creative collaboration, she committed herself and we’ve made lots of successful projects together since then. Aside from being a great subject for me, she has her own Los Angeles-based vegan cinnamon roll bakery, @TheGoodWitchFood, and I order them as a special treat on my sets when I’m shooting. Her cinnamon rolls always make people happy.”
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Mom (Anime Boy), 2016. Photograph by Charlie Engman.
“Mom and I have been working on a book together for the past decade. The book—the culmination of so much intense time and energy spent together—was supposed to debut on Mother’s Day, but the hooks and crooks of fate had a different plan. It’s bittersweet that she and I can’t be together today for a book launch as planned, but it’s been a whole new form of connectedness watching our work disseminate remotely across quarantines.”
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My Mother Walking Her Dogs, Neige and Violette, on the Beach, January 2018. Photograph by Theo Wenner.
“Some people you can understand more about by what they don’t say. That is the case for my mother and that is so beautiful and magnetic about her.”