“The Lonely Astronaut”: Whimsical And Surreal Photography Series By Karen Jerzyk
If you didn’t hear yet for brilliant Karen Jerzyk, a professional photographer based out of the Boston area, then let us introduce her through this playful ongoing series and unique project which explores themes of loneliness and isolation – ‘The Lonely Astronaut.’
This incredibly introverted, awkward wallflower, as she describes herself, was sparked by her purchase of an authentic vintage high-altitude space suit in 2017. Karen Jerzyk has been traveling the world taking photos of women in the suit.
Each subject is alone, placed in a deserted yet evocative environment, from an abandoned theater to an old-fashioned bedroom. In some scenes, the astronaut engages with their surroundings – reading a book or talking on the phone – where in others, the character stands apart from the world they inhabit.
Although many of the scenes have a fantastical tone, the photographer clarifies that she uses only practical effects to create the images. As someone who always had a hard time expressing herself, Karen created this special series to tap right into her social anxiety and her affinity for exploration. She’s telling us an ongoing story of her internal struggles through her appealing and amusing photos and connecting with us, as viewers, on a personal level.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to, that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
The aphorisms and quotes she tags along with each story is often as lyrical and dry as the photos themselves
“I had the model on her stomach on a stool and had real taxidermy butterflies on wire, and composited a bunch of shots so I could multiply them.” – Jerzyk explains.
It’s a difficult series to describe with words, but very easy to understand if you’re an insect or a levitating book.
Whatever it is that this astronaut reminds us of is worth acknowledging.
“In the end, we’re all lonely astronauts that will live, explore dust, die and become more dust, for more lonely astronauts to explore.”