“I’ve always been keen on capturing everyday reality by transforming it into photographs that suggests a world beyond this reality,” says Marton Perlaki, a Hungarian photographer whose works left us amazed and curious at the same time. His series ‘Bird Bald Book Bubble Brick Potato’, recently published by Loose Joints as a photo book entitled ‘ELEMER’, is a collection of striking portraits and witty still lifes, which together entice the viewer’s imagination to create alternative narratives and to enter his quirky world.
The project started after Perlaki started to collect cigarette cards – ones from 1950s displaying useful household tips for middle-class families. He describes: “At first glance, the images looked silly and nonsensical, but after reading the corresponding text on the back of the card, they suddenly started to make sense.” The central figure in front of Perlaki’s camera is Elemér, an enigmatic man with intriguing appearance. Perlaki does not reveal the identity of his model, presenting him in a rather enigmatic way.
In fact, Elemér is a teacher living and working in Szolnok, Hungary, whom Perlaki found on Facebook. “He was extremely patient and cooperative, but because of light sensitivity he could not open his eyes. Without any eye contact Elemér’s head and face became unrealistic and sculptural,” explains Perlaki. Indeed, some of the portraits look even unearthly, with Elemér posing in the most peculiar ways. Combined with abstract still lifes, these portraits evoke a strong and hallucinatory impression, bringing out the absurd from the factual and the delicate from the concrete.
All images © Marton Perlaki