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A closer look at Corey Olsen

American photographer Corey Olsen’s images look as if they could be stills from Richard Kelly’s cult favorite ‘Donnie Darko’, so dryly ironic and perfectly quaint as they are.

Hailing from ‘Vacationland’, or Maine as it is more commonly known, Olsen’s aesthetic marries the banality of a travel brochure with an acute sense of humor and an undertone of nostalgia. Inspired by the wholesomeness associated with his hometown, the photographer subverts feelings of security and comfort in his work, effectively creating images that stir the conscience and upset the norm.

He cites “photography, New England, and strange suburbia” as his influences, and this is evident in his still lifes, landscapes and fashion editorials. A trickle of blood running down an otherwise ordinary section of a concrete sidewalk, a book of short stories wrapped up in leather bondage, a pile of Pink Panther biscuits discarded on the floor amongst the grit and dirt, and a collection of ominous tools all enable Olsen to manipulate the viewer’s expectations and prejudices about suburban life. Through these subtle juxtapositions, Olsen draws on themes of consumerism, manual labor and sexual deviation. His photographs reflect his understanding of middle America, depicting its values and the tropes associated with this demographic through color and form.

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