Dominik Smialowski’s ‘The Pilot’s Melancholy’ is one of the strangest photography series I’ve seen in a long time. There’s no trickery, no manipulation, it’s just the subject matter that is captivating. Yes, the landscape is beautifully shot but its the presence of a spaceman walking, resting, sleeping, lost in this desolate land of rock, desert, water that is most intriguing.
Smialowski’s pictures remind me of the images in Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Total Recall’ – the memories Arnie had of an arid Mars. Even the spacesuit has this old soviet B – movie look about it. I’d love to know what prompted Smialowski to take on such a strange project. Perhaps he loves sci – fi films too? What can be most definitely said of the project is that the image of a lonely spaceman wandering around a barren landscape changes the context of what we’re looking at – you can no longer assume it is Earth. Weird. Sometimes the simplest ideas create the most dissonance.
Who would have thought dressing someone up in a spacesuit and taking their photo in an expansive landscape could create such strange images.
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