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Background Information about Efren Isaza
Graceful female figures lounge in fashionable poses. Paper costumes that seem borrowed from Oskar Schlemmer’s triadic ballet make the ballerinas look like marionettes. Their dislocation recalls the puppets Hans Bellmer featured in his surreal photographic experiments. Frida Kahlo’s face with her dark, furrowed eyebrows, peers at the viewer out of different scenes; her hair is knotted artfully on her head.
The allusions evoked in the imaginative creations of Colombian fashion photographer Efren Isaza are diverse: he cites and alienates an arsenal of styles before melding them into new compositions. It might be a certain scene, a poem, a petal of a flower, or the idea of a person that inspires a new work. His passion for breaking the boundaries of traditional fashion photography is palpable in each of Isaza’s works. He is less concerned with fashion than with the image – the play of contrasts – and the magic and emotions – sometimes saturnine, sometimes buoyant, sometimes surreal, and yet always beguiling – that the image transports.
Isaza, one of Colombia’s most influential fashion photographers, initially studied fashion design. He united his interest in fashion with one of his earliest passions: photography. He began taking portraits and landscapes with his small-format camera at the age of sixteen; later, an autodidact, he fine-tuned his techniques and made a splash in Europe. Back in Colombia he worked for renowned fashion magazines, but that was not enough for a creative spirit like Isaza. From the puzzle pieces of his imagination he has now created completely new and unique compositions whose entrancing effects often blur the boundary between photography and painting.