Photographer Mariell Amélie‘s self-portraits are a bit like playing with an imaginary friend on the borderlands of fantasy and reality. They transport her to a dreamy limbo state, each looking like a snapshot from some noir-ish modern fairy tale. Some are haunting, others playful, but all have a sheen of melancholy, an icy veneer. This sensibility is perhaps explained partially by Amélie’s biography, which places her childhood on “a small island above the arctic circle.” A wind-blown isolation permeates her photography, no matter if the backdrop is breath-taking iceberg mountains or bright dollhouse interiors.
Her self-portraits are enigmatic. They are, to borrow a phrase from science, a bit of “spooky action at a distance” — in one, she contemplates her skates on a puddle-sized ice rink; in another, she pays no heed to the warnings of Narcissus, leaning down to kiss the marsh waters. The latter photograph is called “Part Time Lover.” All of Amélie’s photographs have similarly suggestive names: “She Had Just Left for Heaven, They Said,” is the name of one; “Alone and Unaware” is the name of another. As she tumbles from the driver’s seat of a car, vacant-eyed, the photograph’s name comments, “Someone Will Be Waiting at the Station.” These names, paired with the in media res nature of her photographs, give the unshakable feeling that there’s more to the story than meets the eye. If only it were possible to look beyond the veil.