Steeped in poignant imagery, the work of photographer Fares Micue is instantly recognizable. Usually filled with lush flowers and foliage, delicate butterflies, and even folded pieces of origami, her symbolic self-portraits reveal hidden inner worlds through their imaginative and conceptual visual narratives. However, in some of her most recent images, she exchanges her usual flora and fauna for vivid spherical balloons that float in the air around her, lending new depth and meaning to her striking portraits.
“When I use plants and organic elements in my images, I often use them to reflect the feeling of growth and how our lives, in many ways, follow the same pattern of nature,” Micue tells My Modern Met. “In the opposite, balloons are often a direct interpretation of feelings and energy, things that are around us shaping our life experience, whether clouding our souls, making us fly, or giving us hope. The round shape is a natural and constant pattern in the Universe and is present in the most important elements like the Sun, Moon, planets, or blood cells. Balloons are delicate and fragile, like feelings. And, without corners, they can't hide anything, making them ideal to portray honesty and transparency.”
Each of Micue’s images tells its own story, often inspired by the location, where it was photographed. Forgotten ruins can become a metaphor for time accompanied by constant change and the necessity to let things go as we continue to evolve and grow. “For example, in my image Chasing illusions, I constantly saw these stairs on my way to another shooting location,” Micue explains. “They are located in an old, big water dam. It made me think about the time when the dam was full of water and had been helpful for the farmers around. But now it is now forgotten and in ruins.”
“In [that photo], I explore those feelings that no longer resonate with who we are or want to become and that, for our own good, we should let go,” she continues. “But instead of that, we keep chasing them to an unknown or unhappy ending because of fear or insecurity of following our true feelings.”
See more of Micue’s stunning balloon self-portrait series below. To keep up with the latest from the artist, visit her website and follow her on Instagram. You can also catch her during the upcoming Boynes Emerging Artist Award, where she will be a member of the competition’s 5th Edition jury.
If you’d like to hear more about Micue’s own journey and artistic process, then give a listen to her episode on the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast.