There’s a certain anxiety that resonates in crowded public spaces: airport terminals during the holiday season, beaches in the middle of summer. LA-based artist Alex Prager explores just that, capturing the “psychological narratives of private and public revelation, repulsion, fear, personal safety, and the desire for basic human interaction” through a series of large-form images. Prager staged and directed fictional scenes with hundreds of actors, wanting to envoke the same emotions she encountered while traveling frequently. Although placed among a crowd, the focal point—or person—of each image appears lost, frightened, and detached from the overwhelming surrounding scene. "I’m fascinated by the experience of being involved in other people’s lives accidentally,” Prager said. “Crowds have always been an interest of mine. It may look like a sea of people, but there are so many interesting stories, all colliding silently.” And while Prager's images do have a fashion editorial feel—she's shot for the likes of W magazine and Bottege Veneta (co-sponsors of the exhibit)—feelings of confrontation and drama, in an almost theatrical sense, allow her to bridge into other sectors of photography. On display for the first time in Washington, D.C., Prager's Face in the Crowd images are presented with some of her earlier work, as well as three of the artists's video installations: Despair, La Petite Mort, and Sunday.
'Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd' is on display through December 9, 2014, at Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.