A great photograph is something that moves you,” says photographer Alyssia Lazin. “You look at it, you can’t take your eyes off it and it speaks to you.” Simply said but harder to accomplish, this search for the paradoxically overlooked but arresting moments in life guides the photographer’s eyes and hands through her career. With the completion of her latest series, Portrait of Allure, the artist makes her mark in semi-abstraction, pushing portraiture beyond the traditional paradigm and into the world of conceptual storytelling.


Blending the worlds of the figurative and the abstract, Lazin’s vision subverts ordinary expectations by forcing an uncommon perspective, leading the viewer to reevaluate the thing in itself and compelling an inner abstraction in the search for meaning. Models are obscured, their faces hidden or turned from the camera. Objects are complicated, either through extreme close-up or a framing that borders on optical illusion. The discovery ends up twofold thanks to Lazin’s insistence that her subjects be consumed piecemeal. Whereas the part is separate from the whole and in doing so becomes its own entity open to observation and evaluation, bringing that conclusion to the surface with a mindfulness of whence it came and where it must return grants a fresh understanding of the subject in its completeness. Lazin’s further juxtaposition of disparate images begs connection at both these micro and macro levels.

Beauty is a concern, Lazin says, but, again, not in the traditional sense. Symmetrical faces and chiseled abs bear little interest; the photographer’s eye seeks something a little less obvious and perhaps a little more real. If the goal is to capture the understated beauty of life and bring it to the audience, then manufactured models and intensive post-production come at cross-purposes. Lazin instead relies on her own eye and the happenstance of life. These aren’t “portraits” in her words, but “moments of encounters,” which she then attempts to capture. Photoshop may come into play, but only inasmuch as it mimics the effects of the darkroom, she says. Even her more complicated constructions, born of bouncing reflections, looking like trick images, can be found in reality. “Believe it or not,” she says, “this was all in my camera.”