[Photography] Alex Prager, Silver Lake Drive (2018)
Alex Prager, Silver Lake Drive (2018), The Photographers' Gallery, London
Alex Prager’s mid-career exhibition Silver Lake Drive (2018) presents more than 40 photographs alongside moving images from all of her major series at the Photographers’ Gallery, London. Her works are all highly staged, theatrical and cinematic. The series Face in the Crowd (2013) confirms Alex Prager’s role as a significant contemporary photographer and filmmaker. Crowd #7 (Bob Hope Airport) (2013) presents a busy airport hall in which each figure acts differently and most are alone. The grey and white chequered floor is punctuated with bursts of colours that draw the eye to specific individuals, prompting the viewer to private reflections within the setting of a public space.
In her work Prager involves professional extras, strangers on the street, and her family members and friends over a shoot. Her sister Vanessa Prager appears in every photo in the series, dressed as a different character. This mix of families and strangers, and of professionals and amateurs, creates a dynamic cast of characters, inviting the viewer to wonder who they are and what will happen next.
Prager’s exploration of the crowd touches on issues related to humanity, particularly the complicated relationship between individual and group. As humans we spend our lives simultaneously searching for our individuality and ways to fit in with societal norms. While her images evoke a sense of fantasy, there is an underlying psychological tension that exposes the potential anxieties that plague all of humanity to varying degrees.