On your first glance at Grace Weston’s carefully constructed narrative photographs, it’s easy to get caught up in the bright colors, cute dolls and idyllic landscapes.
But look a little longer and you’ll soon notice the dark joke hidden beneath the glossy surface. Maybe it’s a woman waking up with a duck foot, a giant baby staring down at its tiny parents or a guy sitting on an ice cube reading the newspaper with a noose around his neck.
Weston says she likes to use her “little vignettes” to explore the psychological landscape with wit, humor and a touch of the absurd.
“I like for someone to come up to a piece,” says Weston, “and let their eye travel around and enjoy the colors and the shapes. And then the punch line, if you want to call it that, emerges.”
In these days of electronic manipulation of images, Weston emphasizes that she does not composite the photographs in the computer. Instead, she builds and lights tiny sets to compose the scenes. It takes Weston about three weeks to get one picture and she makes many of the little details — the clothes, the furniture, the backgrounds — by hand.
The process is meticulous, says Weston, but when it all comes together, the end result is magical. “That first moment when I look through the camera, with the lighting roughed in, and the image starts to form in the way I perceived it: That moment is so golden.”
This video was produced and edited by Tom Shrider.
- Photographer Grace Weston Oregon Art Beat