Wayne Dyer said, "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change." When South African photographer Anelia Loubser came across that quote, she took it as more than a personal-growth strategy. She took it as a literal guide to creating her next series of portraits.
To change the way we look at normal human faces, Loubser took photos of people she knew, cropped in tight, and flipped them over -- to striking effect. The series is called "Alienation," and when you see just how alien-like her photo techniques make the human face look, you realize what an appropriate name that is.
Did Loubser ask people in the series to deliberately furrow their brows, or were they photographed without altering their faces? The photos are natural, but the photographer had this to add:
"I photographed people of different ages for 'Alienation.' It’s possible to get an alienated face from anybody, but I found that older people worked the best, because they would sit down and there would already be an alienated face because their lines and wrinkles are so prominent. The more lines and wrinkles and scars, the better the alienated face."
On choosing her models, Loubser said, "Because this was a personal 'passion' project of mine, I wanted to photograph my favorite people. So 'Alienation' is a mixture of family and friends, and local artists that inspire me and for whom I have great respect."
"My signature style is vibrant, colorful images. I love color," Loubser told Crave. So why did she go with black and white for this series?
"When I started with 'Alienation,' I experimented and found that taking the color out of the images lets the alienated beings speak for themselves," she said. "It’s raw, there is no distraction between you and their gazing eyes and their faces seem like they want to pop out from the frame."
"I have been a 'photographer' since I was 14 years old and a professional photographer since 2009," Loubser said. "Photography was never a choice, it just chose me. I grew up on a farm where I had a lot of open spaces to experiment with and grow my passion for photography. I have always worked out of South Africa."
"'Alienation' is an ongoing project," Loubser said of the series. "I still have a lot of people that I really want to photograph to see what their alienated beings look like. I cannot help being aware of people’s foreheads now; everywhere I go I look at foreheads and I dissect their lines. I will still photograph friends and people I know."