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Posed against whimsical candy-coloured backdrops, Bara Prasilova’s series ‘Evolve’ features a series of women with long, immaculately braided hair. They look composed and polished, but behind their elegant poses and serene expressions lies something altogether more menacing. In each image, the figure is bound by their hair, constricting and contorting them until they are trapped.

Bara Prasilova Evolve

Prasilova’s work combines fashion photography with elements of portraiture and fine art. Her images are highly stylised, and she acknowledges that her approach is one of meticulous precision to achieve the shots she wants, “I almost never improvise. Each shot is carefully prepared and sketched out beforehand”.

Bara Prasilova All Tied Up
Bare Prasilova balance and braids
“Using invisible threads, we either bind someone to us, or drive them away”
Bara Prasilova
Bara Prasilova braid skipping
Bara Prasilova hanging on braids

Evolve’ demonstrates her use of photography to explore universal themes, in this case: “human relationships and connections”. ‘Evolve’ looks at the close bonds which we form with others, and the effect that these bonds have on us as individuals. Love and relationships, whether romantic or familial, can cause conflict with our independence. They are inevitably accompanied by an element of fear: of losing those closest to us, of having to function without them. Prasilova describes this “dependency on others” as something from which we are often unable to disentangle ourselves, even if these relationships turn toxic.

Despite the glossy elegance of the images, the long, coiling hair is shown as a sinister physical manifestation of our bonds and habits, symbolising “the invisible strings we use to strap somebody to us, or perhaps the opposite, to let somebody loose.” The manner in which the figures are trapped represents how we can often become “controlled and limited by our own, or others’ emotions and actions.” In order to become free, drastic and brutal action is sometimes needed; the hair must be cut off.

Bare Prasilova Tied Together

Text Emma de Clercq
Images courtesy of Bara Prasilova Website

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