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Photographer Luisa Opalesky was born in Philadelphia, and studied at Parsons New School for Design. She lives and works in New York City.

We spoke to her about her series ‘Wig’, a collection of strange and sensual photographs of synthetic neon wigs, photographed in various natural landscapes. The bobbed wigs are shown tangled amongst plants, submerged in water, and nestled in pure white snow. Vibrant and alien within these landscapes, the wigs seem strangely alive. Instilling the wigs with anthropomorphic qualities is something that Opalesky deliberately pursues in her images. As she states, “I like to give the hair power”.

Luisa Opalesky Pink Wigs
Luisa Opalesky Brown Wig

What draws you to hair as a subject matter in your work?
What a question! Everything draws me to hair in life. I take photos of tumble weave, my hair, wigs, my friends’ hair, strangers’ hair, hair in motion, fur, brushes, really anything that is hair related excites me. I love the texture, the colour, the feeling, the sensuality, the flirting aspect, the fun, the versatility… I could go on and on.

Luisa Opalesky Black Wig
Luisa Opalesky Blond Wig

How is hair represented in ‘Wig’?
Hair is represented in my work as a sacred and coveted ideal, an icon of beauty and vulnerability. At times it can be seen as morbid beauty as well. There is a tingle where beauty and light are matched with an oddity and alien energy. I like to give the hair power.

Luisa Opalesky Pink Wig

With this series, the intention is for one to be removed from reality and swayed into the world I’m creating visually. The viewer is meant to feel excited and confused, stimulated and wondering what’s going on. I love to hear different interpretations of the work. I knew I wanted the photos to feel strange and off-putting but beautiful, that was about it. I knew traveling with my girls and my camera, everything else would work itself out.

Luisa Opalesky Multi coloured wigs

I never try to control and form all the ideas before I’m out shooting. I’m really interested in going with the nature of mood, setting, and light. I play a lot with these elements, and eventually I start creating the images that become hypnotising and powerful enough for me to click the shutter with confidence.

Luisa Opalesky Hanging Wigs
“Hair is represented in my work as a sacred and coveted ideal”
Luisa Opalesky
Luisa Opalesky pastel pink wigs

Interview Emma de Clercq
Images courtesy of Luisa Opalesky Website

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