“The truth, it just sounds different.”
Such were the immortalised words of one Penny Lane in Almost Famous, giving advice on documenting the truth behind the surrealism of a rock’n'roll lifestyle.
Whilst photographer Ahndraya Parlato captures a different range of lifestyles and the people inhabiting them, this idea of the truth and fiction running side by side is the backbone of her work. It’s the normal and uncanny; the simple and the strange. Parlato is on a quest to document “what we accept as reality, often highlighting the uncanniness or magic of everyday life,” and in doing so, show us something about our own natures.
Listing influences as diverse as Chinese filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, author Don Dellilo, and musician Cat Power, Parlato maintains a distinctive take on reality through her photographs, which is both mundane and mysterious. It’s the flicker of a rainbow on an open palm, or tendrils of hair stitched down to a pillow. In a moment, we leap from reality to something more dreamlike, more timeless.
Parlato spent her early childhood in Hawaii and the mysticism of that environment seeps into the way she views her landscapes; rich colours, dark shadows and bold brush strokes of light. She isn’t afraid to use her landscapes as more than backgrounds in soft focus, instead they act as metaphors when paired next to lonely figures, ghostly limbs and empty houses. These aren’t staged dioramas, but encapsulate a feeling; a fleeting state of mind.
In short, Parlato wants you to see things differently, to “make the invisible visible,” and by situating these moments in a real-world environment, the lines between truth and fiction seem a whole lot closer.