Seigar is an English philologist, a highschool teacher, and a curious photographer. He is a fetishist for reflections, saturated colours, details and religious icons.
In this series, subjects are often just out of reach, veiled by glass and reflections from the street – inaccessible to reach out and touch, but always in sight. Meet Seigar’s Plastic People.
One of the many fascinating aspects of Seigar’s photographs is that he manages to capture a depth of emotion on the non-human faces of his plastic people. From distant stares to stern bitterness, Seigar captures expressions in such a way that for a moment, we forget that these aren’t the faces of living, breathing individuals.
“This set belongs to my most personal, serious and ambitious project so far,” explains the photographer, “I try to give dignity and humanity to the plastic people around the world. As a street and travel photographer, I have had the chance to take photos of shop windows in many cities, and there I have found the inspiration for these images. They tell me tales and stories about life. They always show me their human substance. Every photo creates a fantasy. Their faces, looks, eyes, clothes, shadows, and reflections portray them as the modern society”.
Of his series, Seigar tells us, “we find these women surrounded by reflections of their cities. Reflections always help me to make complex photographs. I’m not afraid of complexity. I like getting richness. I don’t try to follow conventional compositions. I just keep loyal to my eye. If I need to break rules to show an image, I just do”.
He goes on to tell us that there is also a cultural aspect to his photos: “They sort of represent the people from the place they’re in. Their mood, clothes, body awareness issues or make up show the traditions, beliefs and even values from these places, but at the same time, there is a universal human quality to them. They are each, in their own way, a portrait of modern society”.
There is a certain duality to the reflections within Seigar’s compositions – just as fragments of the cities are reflected back at us in the glass, the mannequins serve as a sort of reflection of people themselves. The way that Seigar is able to capture a certain level of humanity in the non-human, and to capture distinct emotion on the faces of these plastic people is truly an artistic feat. In the image above, the subject seems to glare at onlookers with disgust mixed with envy – almost as though she is resentful of the humanity that she lacks. Her face says “I deserve better than this”.
Other faces stare at us – or through us – with another look entirely – but in every instance, we can put our finger on a particular emotion or mood. Seigar explains, “my intention is the humanization of the mannequins. I feel the need to make them speak to the world. They all have a message to convey, a story to tell”.
Seigar’s artistic vision is largely influenced by pop culture. He cites filmakers like Pedro Almodóvar, Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Aldrich, Quentin Tarantino, Lars Von Trier, and painters Frida Kahlo, Dalí, Picasso and Warhol as inspiration. His favourite photographer at the moment is Martin Parr.
Seigar’s series is a profound look at humanity without showing us any real humans at all. And that, in itself, is a feat of great proportions.