Figures of Domestication
+August 01, 2020
Combining the language of constructed sets and artificial lighting, photographic artist and commercial photographer Larissa Issler creates whimsical and enticing sets that invoke sensations of nostalgia and childhood memory. Bright colours and clean compositions define Issler’s stunning commercial aesthetic, but are always undercut with something deeper - the beauty and texture of the products and spaces are effortlessly captured and made alluring. Pops of colour and playful sets combined with sleek lighting and crisp visuals form the basis of Larissa Issler's stunning works - none more so than her personal project Figures of Domestication.
Conceived through a return to childhood fascination with the hidden life and secret adventures of domestic objects, and an adult fascination of hunting for interesting trinkets, Issler’s Figures of Domestication is an ode to domestic adaptation, evolution and whimsy. As a child, Issler would create fantastical secret adventures for the trinkets she adored, projecting personalities and adventures onto each object. Figures of Domestication is a return to these day dreams, now made a reality through careful composition and lighting that finally brings the objects to life.
Animating inanimate objects and bestowing upon them a personality is easily achieved in daydreams, but a challenge to reproduce in studio. Through bright and alluring lighting, Issler animates the objects and gives them a sense of depth and presence, defining the space and animating the story surrounding the figures. Issler’s lighting choices purposefully seek to stir nostalgia in audiences, provoking them to project their own experiences and childhood dreams onto the whimsical trinkets and dream-like set.
Issler also considered issues of adaptation, and domestic evolution in Figures of Domestication. The domestic is not the space you’d expect to see ducks frolicking and giraffes grazing - they have been plucked from their natural environment and forced to assimilate to the home, as well as decorate it concurrently. That is the basis of the project - the imagining of the secret life these figures harbour outside of the human gaze, the ways they adapt and behave in a foreign situation. Through this process, Issler makes the domestic interesting, bestowing upon it a shared childhood fantasy. Issler reflects on how this assimilation often mirrors the human adaptation to changing cultural normalities and the process of cultural evolution.
We all struggle at some point with assimilating to cultural norms, and as we age we’re in a constant state of evolution, posed with new challenges and societal milestones. With curiosity and whimsy I aim to showcase the assimilation of these animals into their new domestic environment. Foraging throughout the home, exploring the space, hunting for food, entertainment, or even a new pack member. Each with individual personalities and backgrounds that fuel their behaviour.
Figures of Domestication was made in collaboration with prop stylist Krystin Leigh-Smith, helping to bring the objects to life and bestow them with personality.
Larissa Issler specialises in ‘eye-popping’ photography, filled with clever and exciting use of composition and lighting. Developing her clean and colourful style at Ryerson University, Issler has gone on to create work overflowing with juxtapositions of light and unexpected yet stunning pops of colour. Quirkiness and whimsy aren’t just in her work but in her very DNA, imbuing her work with a crisp aesthetic and a modern visual clarity. Issler works as a Fine Art and Commercial photographer in Toronto, Ontario.