Biography

 

Photographer Melanie Pullen has been fascinated by the set-up of a photograph, the imagination of the before and after the shot, and the intersection of histories that lie behind the image. Her most well known series “High Fashion Crime Scenes” (1995-2005) was inspired by the subject of Luc Santé’s 1992 book, Evidence: crime scene photographs from the New York Police Department’s archives. In a return to early, less clinical methods of crime scene photography, Pullen revisits the artistic sensibilities once applied to composition, lighting, and drama. She creates elaborate crime scenes of her own – where the “victims” are not anonymous bodies, but models dressed in haute couture. Pulling from the Los Angeles Police Department and coroner’s office’s records, Pullen draws up complex storyboards that utilize professional makeup, fashion, set design, and stunt-acting to disguise and distract from the inherent violence within the photograph. More recently, Pullen has explored the dramatic, stylized face of violence and the empty sheen of advertising imagery. Pullen has exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville Florida, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego California, and Museo Jumex in Mexico City.


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