60’s mothers, tear-eyed at home with cigarettes, wigs and fake nails galore, on a pink motel background… Los Angeles looks both familiar and disturbing in Nadia Lee Cohen’s photos.
In these cinematographic scenes, one recognizes the places, the images, and the characters, but always finds a subtlety and a disturbing detail. The English photographer displays a fantasy and caricature version of America in the form of wild (auto) portraits.
She doesn’t shoot the typical California dream. In swimsuits, adorned with gilded jewels, in front of the palm trees at the edge of a swimming pool, or in a sequined dress in front of a petrol station: all her photos are immersed in this pop and retro universe, sometimes ideal, most of the times disturbing.
This mix of Californian landscapes, saturated colors and references to the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s is the essence of each of her projects. The technicolor universe of Cohen’s photography is multiform and multimedia.
A graduate of the London College of Fashion, she regularly works with magazines and brands. She also immortalizes celebrities like Elizabeth Olsen as a Hitchcockian heroine, or Pamela Anderson as a horror movie victim.
The photographer says that after four years of typical Californian life, she continues to shoot the city through a “European mocking eye”. Among her inspirations are also cinematic legends such as Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, John Waters and Quentin Tarantino. “I really like what I do and I think that the way I present myself comes naturally as an extension of my work,” she says. She’s a perfect example of art and the artist becoming one.