story / Tiffany Diane Tso
images / Alison Brady
It’s okay if you feel a little weird right now. Brooklyn-based photographer Alison Brady has become notable for composing visually uncomfortable images. Whether the composition of the body in the room just seems off or has become completely mutant, there is something unnerving about the contents of Brady’s photos.
“I’m looking to create imagery that represents the stickier, darker corners of the subconscious mind—the parts we don’t like to revisit.”
Brady describes her artistic beginnings in high school in Cleveland, where she would set up strange, surreal sets and sculptures and photograph her friends interacting within the space. Stating roots in sculpture and ‘performance art,’ Brady shifted her focus to photography, getting an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. “I was drawn to the instant gratification quality.”
Brady, however, states that her work is non-narrative. “It is the work of the images to suspend the viewer in indeterminate spaces without a before or after to resolve them, outside of the realm of time,” leaving any questioning unanswered and curiosity unsatisfied. The odd recurring visual themes in Brady’s body of work act as an “unpleasant memory [that] resurfaces, continually haunting you.” It is unsurprising that Brady has an affinity for B horror film.
“I like B horror films, because I feel the director is able to take many more risks than a well-funded commercial film would afford,” Brady says. “I also really appreciate the low budget feel; there is a certain humor that is inherent to fake blood and cheap effects.” The product is usually something “over-the-top, absurd and sometimes altogether disgusting.”
Brady also takes a very DIY route when setting up her own shoots. “There is an extensive amount of preparation involved in each piece, from the conceptualization to the finest details of set dressing and costuming, even grocery shopping.” Brady takes familiar items like pantyhose, hair extensions and spaghetti to create something alien or frightening.