Alex Prager (b. 1979, Los Angeles; lives and works in Los Angeles) is a photographer and filmmaker who creates elaborately staged scenes that draw inspiration from a wide range of influences and references, including Hollywood cinema, experimental films, popular culture, and street photography. She deliberately casts and stages all of her works, merging past and contemporary sources to create a sense of ambiguity. Her familiar yet uncanny images depict worlds that synthesize fiction and reality. Each photograph captures a moment frozen in time, inviting the viewer to “complete the story” and speculate about the narrative context. Prager’s work often makes the viewer aware of the voyeuristic nature of photography and film, establishing the uneasy feeling of intruding upon a potentially private moment. In her images of both crowds and individuals, she examines conflicting emotions of claustrophobia and isolation, revealing an ominous and perpetual anxiety. The highly choreographed nature of her photographs and films exposes the way images are constructed and consumed in our media-saturated society. This puts her work in direct conversation with artists engaged in the tradition of staged photography, such as Cindy Sherman, Gregory Crewdson, and Thomas Demand.
Solo exhibitions of Prager’s work have been organized at Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle, Switzerland; The Photographers’ Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2018), Des Moines Art Center, IA (2017-2018); Saint Louis Art Museum, MO (2015); Galerie des Galeries, Paris (2015); Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas, TX (2015); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2014); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2013); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2013); and the FOAM Photography Museum, Amsterdam (2012). Select group exhibitions featuring her work include Telling Tales: Contemporary Narrative Photography, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2016-2014); Open Rhapsody, Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon (2015); The Noir Effect, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles (2014); No Fashion, Please: Photography Between Gender and Lifestyle, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2011); and New Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). Her work is in numerous international public and private collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Australia; Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Prager has received numerous awards, including the FOAM Paul Huf Award (2012), The Vevey International Photography Award (2009), and the London Photographic Award (2006). Her editorial work has been featured in prominent publications, including Vogue, New York Magazine, and W, and her film series Touch of Evil, commissioned by The New York Times Magazine, won a 2012 Emmy award. Her first major public commission, Applause, for Times Square Arts: Midnight Moment, New York, took place in summer 2017.