Portfolio: Alma Haser's unsettling 'Cosmic Surgery' series


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The Independent Culture

It was dyslexia that led Alma Haser to name her series of photographs "Cosmic Surgery". When the 24-year-old was trying to explain to her family that the subjects in her pictures might look like they'd had cosmetic surgery, she kept pronouncing it "cosmic surgery". "I tend to talk very quickly because of my dyslexia and sometimes get things wrong," she says. "They corrected me but we all liked the name. And it made sense, because the people look like they're from some new, future generation."

The pictures are made by photographing the subject, then printing multiple copies of the sitter's face and folding them into origami structures. That is then placed over the original face and the whole construct is photographed again.

Haser received her first camera when she was just six. She would take snaps of her and her dolls before she retired the camera in favour of drawing. It was a round-the-world trip with her family when she was 13 that inspired her to revisit her former passion.

"My mother was a pinhole photographer and she'd often use me and my brother as her subjects. I got really involved and would sit in the darkroom with her. By the time I came back, I had decided I wanted to study photography." She graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a photography in art practice degree in 2010.

Haser mainly chooses friends to sit for her, albeit preferably ones with distinguishing features and a unique sense of style. She wants the images, which are being exhibited next month in Toronto before arriving in London, to unsettle the viewer. "I hope that people find them beautiful but at the same time are taken aback because they are so awkward and weird," she says. "I think they do freak people out slightly, but I like that. I just want them to look closer."

For more: haser.org