Alex Prager

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Alex Prager
Born (1979-11-01) November 1, 1979 (age 39)
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Known forPhotography, Filmmaking
AwardsEmmy, London Photography Award, FOAM Paul Huf Award

Alex Prager (born November 1, 1979) is an American art photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Her photographs primarily use staged actors, models and extras to create "meticulously designed mise en scène”,[1] often described as film-like and hyperreal.[2] Prager’s growing filmography expands the fictive realities of her still works, touching upon themes of alienation and the pluralism of modern life.[3]


Prager began her photography practice after viewing an exhibition of William Eggleston's at the Getty Museum in 1999-2000.[4] Her staged color photographs are described by Ken Johnson as being influenced by Cindy Sherman, Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Douglas Sirk.[5]

In 2005, Prager created a group of works, The Book of Disquiet, as an exhibition and joint publication with artist Mercedes Helnwein. She began to gain more attention after exhibiting Polyester in 2007, which focused on Southern California and portraits of various women and girls.[6] Her next series, titled "The Big Valley", was shown in 2008 at Michael Hoppen Gallery in London and in 2009 at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York. In 2010, along with the series Week-End, Prager created her first short film, Despair which was based on her earlier photographic work.[7] Inspired by the 1948 film The Red Shoes and set in 1960s Los Angeles, the four-minute film chronicles the struggle of a ballerina – played by actress Bryce Dallas Howard – whose obsession with dance conflicts with her need for love, ultimately leading her to suicide.[8] The film was included in Museum of Modern Art's exhibition "New Photography 2010"[9] where Prager was recognized as a notable emerging talent.

In 2012, Prager addressed themes of disaster and spatial turbulence with the series Compulsion.[10] Prager's second short film "La Petite Mort" was made simultaneously, starring French actress Judith Godreche with narration from Gary Oldman. The film was a "contemplation on death" and according to Prager, devised from a more traditional film understanding.[11]

Prager's series, Face in the Crowd, debuted at Washington D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2013. Shot on a Hollywood soundstage, Prager re-built spaces of dense public gathering - city streets, a movie theater, a beach, an airport. She filled these sets with personally selected and dressed friends, relatives and 150 extras,[12] culminating in large-scale photographs and a 10-minute three-channel video installation starring actress Elizabeth Banks. Face in the Crowd magnifies Prager's characteristic evocation of timelessness whilst maintaining an acute awareness of the contemporary plight.[13]

In 2015, Prager was commissioned by the Paris Opera to create a film for 3e Scène. The film, La Grande Sortie, explores the tension between a performer’s experience on stage and the audience watching. It stars prima ballerina Émilie Cozette and features leading dancer Karl Paquette dancing to an adapted score by Nigel Godrich. The film was produced by Jeremy Dawson. La Grande Sortie premiered at 3e Scène on September 15, 2015.[14]

Beginning in October 2015, La Grande Sortie will be presented as part of a solo exhibition by Prager at Galerie des galeries in Paris, alongside a new set of photographic works.[15]



  • "Silver Lake Drive", Thames & Hudson (ISBN 0500544972)
  • “Face in the Crowd”, Corcoran (2013) (ISBN 0615901743)
  • “Compulsion”, Michael Hoppen Gallery (2012) (ISBN 0615613055)
  • "The Big Valley / Week-end", M+B and Yancey Richardson Gallery (2010) (ISBN 0615339182)

Notable Exhibitions[edit]

Public Collections[edit]



Prager has received several major awards for her work, including an Emmy Award for the New York Times-commissioned piece Touch of Evil, starring Jessica Chastain, George Clooney, Glenn Close, Kirsten Dunst, Rooney Mara, Brad Pitt, and others.[30] In 2012, Prager received the Paul Huf award from Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, accolading her as one of the most distinct voices in contemporary photography.[31]


  1. ^ "alex prager brings her surreal americana photographs to istanbul". 10 June 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-01-22. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  2. ^ Zafiris, Alex. "For Alex Prager, It's Lonely in a Crowd". Archived from the original on 2014-10-22. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  3. ^ Boyle, Katherine. "At Corcoran, Alex Prager's color photographs of crowds depict detachment in togetherness - The Washington Post". Archived from the original on 2016-03-08. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  4. ^ Davidson, Barbara (August 8, 2012). "reFramed: In conversation with Alex Prager". The Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Ken Johnson (March 19, 2010), Aipad Photography Show New York New York Times.
  6. ^ Lindholm, Erin. "Alex Prager's Girls on Film". Art in America. Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  7. ^ "Bryce Dallas Howard in "Despair"". Nowness online. Archived from the original on 2010-08-21. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  8. ^ Carol Vogel (July 29, 2010), ‘New Photography 2010’ Coming to MoMA New York Times.
  9. ^ "New Photography 2010 Alex Prager". Museum of Modern Art. Archived from the original on 2014-07-24. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  10. ^ Brown, Emma. "Alex Prager Predicts Disaster". Interview Magazine. Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  11. ^ "The Little Death of Alex Prager - Photography - Agenda - Phaidon". Phaidon. Archived from the original on 2018-04-10. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  12. ^ Alex Zafiris (January 10, 2014), On View: For Alex Prager, It’s Lonely in a Crowd Archived 2014-10-22 at the Wayback Machine. T: The New York Times Style Magazine
  13. ^ "Staging Reality: Alex Prager's Timeless Faces in the Crowd |". Archived from the original on 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  14. ^ "La grande sortie - Alex Prager". Opéra national de Paris. Archived from the original on 2017-03-19. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  15. ^ a b "Alex Prager". Archived from the original on 2017-03-17.
  16. ^ a b "Alex Prager". November 30, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-18. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  17. ^ "Alex Prager Predicts Disaster". Interview Magazine. 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  18. ^ "Exhibition: Alex Prager, Mise-en-scène". Savannah College of Art and Design. July 27, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-08-17. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  19. ^ "Staging Reality: Alex Prager's Timeless Faces in the Crowd". Time Magazine. November 19, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-29. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  20. ^ "Alex Prager | NGV". Archived from the original on 2018-03-19. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  21. ^ "The Arts Club - Exhibitioninner". Archived from the original on 2015-10-04. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  22. ^ "Skirball Cultural Center presents Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950". 4 February 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  23. ^ "Alex Prager". M+B. Archived from the original on 2014-12-06. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  25. ^ "Top 10 Hong Kong Gallery Shows". 11 March 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  26. ^ "Alex Prager: Silver Lake Drive". The Photographers' Gallery. 2018-04-04. Archived from the original on 2018-06-15. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  27. ^ Musée des beaux-arts du Locle Archived from the original on 6 November 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ "Alex Prager directs Touch of Evil". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  29. ^ "Cate Blanchett Stars in "Uncanny Valley" By Alex Prager". W Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 November 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  30. ^ "We Won an Emmy — for Villainy!". New York Times. October 2, 2012. Archived from the original on July 17, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  31. ^ Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam (14 March 2012). "The Foam Paul Huf Award 2012". Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2018-10-24 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]