Art & Design

Photographer Charlie Engman’s Mother as Muse and Model

Art & Design

Photographer Charlie Engman’s Mother as Muse and Model

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On Mother’s Day, we celebrate the person who knows us best – or at least, the longest. We temporarily forget their faults and see them in the best light possible. Fashion photographer Charlie Engman, who has photographed for BULLETT, takes things one step further and has cast his mother in a different kind of light –  as his model.

His recent series titled MOM features his own mother in high fashion garb. The twenty-six year old fashion photographer was recently listed as one of PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch (and shot the magazine’s cover) and explains, “I couldn’t really recognize her in the images, or rather, I recognized her in unfamiliar ways.” [via PDN].

In the MOM series, Engman is evermore the auteur, his amazing eye for composition and color underscored by the presence of himself behind the camera and now, with his mother as model, in front of the lens as well.

The re-imagining of his own mother as a model can be seen as the ultimate exercise for Engman, who is known for his unique style.  He leaves the edges of backdrops visible, and playfully collages textures and surfaces, both in his real life set-design and digital post-production.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Engman now splits his time between New York and Paris. While traveling on shoots for clients such as Hermès, Lacoste, The New York Times, and Vogue, Engman is constantly  looking over his images and re-imagining  compositions. Engman’s “Digital Sketchbook” is a Tumblr blog where he hashes out quirky combinations of his own b-side images from fashion shoots and personal photographs, photoshopping them without abandon. Limbs go missing, negative space from one fashion shoot becomes a surreal portal into landscapes from a different shoot. The MOM series is in many ways a continuation of Engman’s sketchbook and exploration of re-contextualization and collage:

When it comes to art, I’m primarily motivated by that fundamental excitement that occurs when a successful relationship is established between an object and an intention. The simple “aha” feeling when you make a face out of the headlights and bumper of a car, for example — there’s a strange sense of author-less coincidence and uncanny inevitability there that is nonetheless a product of some kind of decision-making.

I think collage, and photography to some extent, is uniquely suited to produce this effect. It’s all about collecting and arranging pre-existing materials in ways that elicit their previously weak or invisible qualities. Collage interests me specifically, because it involves a double-remove; I’m taking moments that have already by “realized” and un-realizing, or re-realizing, them with my scissors and tape.

 [via Uprise Art]