Laura Williams creates haunting, surreal images by just using every day items. The only model she photographs is herself. The compositions of the Cambridge, UK-based artist 19-year-old are simple, and usually take place in wooded areas or dimly lit rooms. Her editing creates a twilit, mysterious atmosphere in each photo. Though the images look fairly simple, they create a dreamlike quality, which lends a sense that something deeper is occurring.
Williams uses digital imaging to create subtle and unnerving elements to support her work’s dreamy quality. Disembodied hands reach from behind trees. Animal-human hybrids stare at the viewer. Forests are filled with mysterious female figures and seemingly misplaced furniture. The images seem like illustrations from a fairy tale, but the rest of the story is unknown.
The concept of hiding and concealment shows up often in Williams’ work. These photos become something more psychological than a self-portrait with Williams as a model. Her face and parts of her body are often hidden by masks, smoke, or mirrors. Her images are deceptively simple, and cause the viewer to pause for a moment to figure out what’s going on. “I like the idea of creating an image that’s perhaps a little less obvious, like an illusion,” she explains, “one that really intrigues the viewer and tries to trick the eye.”
Williams started experimenting with photography at 13, and developed her craft since then. Even being her own subject took some getting used to. “I used to really hate taking self portraits, I found it really awkward and didn’t really know what I was doing in terms of pose or whatever, but gradually learned to relax,” she explains on her Tumblr page.