Walking up to a turquoise house in San Pedro, California, all you hear are the faint music of wind chimes in the distance, as you take in your surroundings… The floors are strewn with vintage lingerie, paintbrushes and old cameras; moss hangs from corners, and brightly colored glitter can be seen in unexpected places. There are turtles and cats nonchalantly lounging around, not caring about your presence, and the faint smell of marijuana and incense fills your senses. Entranced by the magical place, covered in artwork and photographs, you are greeted by a small, nymph-like woman and filled with a sense of magic and curiosity. This is photographer, publisher, and painter, Sarah Elise Abramson.
California native, Abramson, has been making quite a splash in the contemporary photography world, as her images are striking and strange, beautiful, magical compositions of men and women in absurd and evocative situations and poses. Abramson is inspired by her own reality, a strange mutation of the world around her, seemingly decorated with urban relics and nude people, magic crystals and colored smoke. Her photographs find a heavenly place to exist, between the odd, grotesque, mystical, and the imaginary. She captures the tiniest of details in the most surreal and fantastical ways.
She often can be found creating custom music videos for bands, album artwork, paintings, and publishing an independent art magazine, Slow Toast, giving attention to the odd and wondrous artists she finds along her unique journey. She has photographed numerous independent musicians (including Bombón, Mike Watt and Emily Gold), and well known artists and writers (including Liz McGrath and David LaChapelle). She has a strong appreciation for nature and a problem with authority. Abramson often trespasses into hidden, secret spots for the perfect location, to excavate the magic that is within the unknown or unseen. Her juxtaposition of imagery, props and emotion find the perfect balance of chaos and calm.
Watching Abramson create her photos is like witnessing genius be born—her mind is constantly moving, and although you cannot tell, as she moves slowly, observing and studying items of clothing, props, mirrors and found objects around her, but once she has an idea, as strange and chaotic as it may seem, watching from afar, she finds the magic moments of her subjects and compositions with ease. Her photographs—often taken with vintage Polaroid film—explore the interaction of everyday items, the beauty of adventure, as well as contemplation and humanity.
There is a feeling with her work that is unmatched by many other contemporary photographers—a feeling of uneasiness mixed with reflection and adoration. A nostalgic aesthetic, her photographs look as though they could be from anytime between the 1973 and now. She pushes and pulls with symbols of life and death, and plays with perception, but her abstraction and experimentation of the human experience is fascinating and hypnotic.