2004 Infinity Award: Applied/Fashion/Advertising
English conceptual artist Alison Jackson lives and works in London, where she photographs uncanny likenesses of celebrities posing in unusual and often compromising circumstances. In 1999, Jackson exhibited a much-discussed image of actors portraying the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and her fiancé Dodi Al Fayed, with their imaginary child. Since then, her work has been a staple of galleries, advertisements, and newsmagazines in the UK and beyond. Her 2003 book Private is a compendium of constructed “celebrity” photographs.
Jackson’s work is marked by extreme voyeurism; using stand-ins, she produces the kinds of scenes for which tabloids and the public hunger but could never actually obtain. For example, one of her images depicts look-alikes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush relaxing in a sauna, clad only in towels. Her pictures are not only fascinating for their verisimilitude—both the scenes and the actors are deadpan realistic—but also for the ways in which they reflect upon the culture of celebrity and celebrity-worship. These images lead us to wonder about the artifice inherent in all photographs, specifically placing our collective obsession with pictures of public figures beneath a caustic and entertaining microscope.