Melanie Pullen is an American photographer whose work is giving and there will give much that to speak from now on. She discovered photography when she was eight years old by the hand of the family Polaroid camera and she could never leave it. She started in the professional world with collaborations in magazines like Rolling Stones, Elle or Vogue but it was clear for her that she wanted further progress in the world of art. She wanted to tell stories and do it from the originality, irony and humour. Thus, it was born the new project called High Fashion Crime Scenes in which it is talked about “acceptance and normalization” of violence from the society. A series of photographs in which prevail the suggestion and technical quality and that enjoy the recognition of the critics and buyers within the world of art.
FLIC What was the reason that made you decide to do High Fashion Crime Scenes?
MELANIE I was very interested in my reaction to crime and violence. I noticed I was growing desensitized to violence more and more over the years. I reflected on why for years and realized that it was due to how exploited violence had become. With the news it was a major industry and highly glamorized and sensationalized. So I decided to take people on an extreme version of this trip into why we’re growing so detached as a society. I took all the factors: real crime scenes that I recreated, with fashion, models, women, etc… All the elements that sensationalize true crime. I wanted to do things that weren’t politically correct to kind of show what’s going on but at the same time with a dark sense of humor about it all.
FLIC About your project, I have known that the most scenes of crime you have done are based on reports from the Police Department of Los Angeles, how did you get to be allowed to those documents?
MELANIE I started calling around and finally got in touch with the former Chief of Police that opened up an archive for me. I also, just went down to the LA Coroner’s Office and became good friends with him. At one point I even found some images from early New York – these amazing crime scenes from between 1912-1914 that were almost destroyed. I went through thousands of photos to find the perfect ones to recreate.
FLIC Are all the scenes of crime that you recreate real?
MELANIE They are all based on real crime scene photos. Sometimes accurate down to the exact location where the original crime took place.
FLIC Do you introduce any element that does not exist in order to create different emotions?
MELANIE I do. I add a lot of color. All the images I work from are black and white originally and then I recreate them in vivid color normally. Sometimes I make small changes but I try to keep them almost the same.
FLIC In all your pictures I have seen the victims are women. Why?
MELANIE I feel like women are the most exploited by the media and also the most captivating. You can go to bad neighborhoods and if something happens to a poor man on the wrong side of the tracks no one seems to care that much but if it’s a beautiful woman it’s mainstream media. That goes back to the Black Dahlia Case.
FLIC What is the message that you want to send with your pictures?
MELANIE I want to take people on the journey I had – not noticing the violence and then having the realization of desensitization. I find it’s interesting. We should ask ourselves questions about how the media affects our way of thinking and society.
FLIC I can imagine that create a new picture needs a lot of time and a fantastic team work. How are your photo shoots? How much time do you spend to create a picture?
MELANIE It depends on the photo. Sometimes it takes months and other times it takes just days. I do work with great teams – sometimes up to 100 people. My last series was so extensive that it required a lot of help to produce some of the major shots.
FLIC What is the people’s reaction when they see your pictures?
MELANIE Everyone is different. I’ve had people hate my work and others cry at the beauty of it. I find the viewers’ reactions to be the most interesting part of the whole process. How people respond. The worst thing that could happen to an artist is that people don’t care. So the fact that the vast majority of people who see the work have some reaction makes me happy and I’m glad to have achieved something.
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