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Surreal Portraits Reveal What Photographer Sees in Friends

Alvarejo, Illustrator

In Jon Jacobsen's series, People I Know, the self-taught photographer uses costumes, props, and visual effects to produce surreal portraits of his friends and the people he admires. Each image represents the subject based on how the photographer views them. They feature elements like a shattered plate that doubles as a beautiful headpiece and someone's hand cloaked in a metal glove that holds an armored Pegasus. With these imaginative compositions, it's no surprise that Jacobsen's works represent people who take on creative pursuits, like an actor, artist, and illustrator.

People I Know is a symbolic series, and some its imagery is easier to decipher than others. While we can tell that his friend wearing a crown of sticks and hands bound with doll legs is modeled after the iconic image of the film Jesus Christ Superstar, it is harder to see that Jacobsen's redheaded friend eating a carrot is a designer by trade. Even so, the poignant and personal depiction of these people makes for interesting photos, even if we don't exactly know how to read them. Jacobsen approaches his work with seriousness and the colors and effects aren't campy or over the top. It's clear that he has reverence for the paths that his subjects pursue.

Daniel, Actor

Helena, Model

Luna, Model

Mica, Designer

Tully Satre, Artist

Tully Satre, Artist

Jon Jacobsen Behance page
via [RepublicX]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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