Photographer Kourtney Roy Makes Eerie Self-Portraits In Desolate Yet Dramatic Locations


Kourtney Roy/Galerie Catherine et André Hug/The Guardian

Kourtney Roy makes eerie self-portraits in desolate yet dramatic locations – with wigs and wardrobe straight out of 1950s melodrama. In these shots, from her “Enter as Fiction – California” series, she plays characters caught in desolate, often abandoned settings.

More info: Kourtney Roy


Kourtney Roy/Galerie Catherine et André Hug/The Guardian

Roy, who was born in Ontario and lives in Paris, has appeared as everything from beauty queen to housewife in her kitsch self-portraits. In Enter as Fiction, she adds an element of mystery by rarely showing her face.


Kourtney Roy/Galerie Catherine et André Hug/The Guardian

Roy was named after Tom Courtenay (“a British actor my mom really liked”). Films are hugely influential on her images, particularly 1950s melodramas, for their colour and decor. She enjoys suggesting characters who seem locked in an ordinary existence, dreaming of more colourful times.


Kourtney Roy/Galerie Catherine et André Hug/The Guardian

The settings at first seem inspirational but, under the punishing rays of the sun, come to feel harsh and devoid of hope.


Kourtney Roy/Galerie Catherine et André Hug/The Guardian

When she was starting out in Paris, Roy became influenced by Guy Bourdin, whose fashion photography contained strange, often haunting narratives. She liked the idea of “making little stories” in a single frame.


Kourtney Roy/Galerie Catherine et André Hug/The Guardian

“I am drawn to anonymous scenes that are often overlooked,’ she once said. ‘It’s where the magic happens”.


Kourtney Roy/Galerie Catherine et André Hug/The Guardian

Roy initially wanted to study painting and cites Renaissance tableaux as an influence on her photographic work.


Kourtney Roy/Galerie Catherine et André Hug/The Guardian

In the early days, Roy would pose with pieces of meat, sometimes bringing home animals she found dead in the street and placing them between her legs. As this shot shows, she has not lost her ability to disturb.

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