To Dust You Shall Return: the Photography of Alex Conrad Valone
Bodies unearthed and eyes half-lidded in rapture; the moments captured by photographer Alex Conrad Valone, are simultaneously engrossing and unsettling. When viewing her imagery, one experience that unnerving feeling that they’ve stumbled upon something they’re not intended to witness, yet they cannot look away. There’s a sense of desperation, isolation, fear, and loneliness in the faces of her models, yet at the same time they are confident and consenting.
Alex, a 20-something photography student at SCAD in Savannah Georgia, captures intimate moments of mourning and martyrdom. Her “Cult” series is particularly striking: the photograph entitled We Renounce You depicts seven dark-clothed individuals in a pool of dark water submerging a woman in white. At first glance, one might think of the painting of Ophelia by John Everett Millais, with her body appearing relaxed and graceful – but upon closer inspection, the woman in the water is making direct eye contact with the photographer, almost as a plea for her baptism (or drowning) to end.
The balance of negative space, high contrast and subtle diagonals in Diet of Worms lead the viewer’s eye back to the pale flesh of the corpse. The untitled photo of the martyr engulfed in flames atop a mountain has an equally striking backdrop in shades of blue, green, and gray.
While the narratives in the yarns she weaves are open ended, they all share a foreboding message of things to come. One thing is for certain: dust we are and to dust we shall return.
Alex’s artistic career is just in its infancy, and we can’t wait to see what else she produces. If you want to peep what she’s currently working on, visit her Instagram.