Oakland-based photographer Alex Wein has traveled all over, experiencing places from an unusual perspective. Headstands, a project that began during a cross-country roadtrip in 2011, is an ongoing self-portrait project in which he documents himself as he observes the world from upside down.
In each scene, Wein inserts himself into a typical landscape, transforming an otherwise average photograph into a strange and unexpected moment. As he carefully and precariously balances himself on his head, the right-side-up world around him continues on without blinking an eye. Regarding all of his work, he says, “My work walks the line between ultimate reality and surrealism.”
Even within the still shots, there is movement in the portraits as his body tilts to one side (possibly mid-fall!), his legs sway overhead, or he arcs his back to maintain his balance. Considering the likelihood that Wein might fall over, some of his choices–precariously balanced on the edge of a cliff or in the middle of an urban traffic jam–are a little nerve-racking!
Ultimately, the playful collection is an intriguing series in which viewers are invited to travel along with Wein as he ventures to unpredictable portrait locations like a cemetery in Louisiana, a park in Japan, the US Capitol, the deserts of Utah, a skatepark in Florida, and even a hot tub in Hollywood, California.