Apr 282019
 archive : Photoville LA

Controversy and the Art of the Image

Melanie Pullen’s talk will cover the taboo subjects that she explores in her work, including the self-imposed boundaries that she adheres to when delving into controversial subject matters and series.

Presenters: Melanie Pullen

Location: Annenberg Space for Photography

Presented by:

  • Leica Camera

Melanie Pullen’s talk will cover the taboo subjects that she explores in her work, including the self-imposed boundaries that she adheres to when delving into controversial subject matters and series. Melanie will discuss her journey through the art world, working exclusively as a fine-art photographer spanning nearly two decades.

Presenter Bios

  • Melanie Pullen

    Melanie Pullen

    Melanie Pullen (b.1975 NYC) (b.1975 NYC) is a self-taught fine-art photographer raised in a family of photojournalists, publishers, and artists. Her photography is heavily influenced by early forensic photography, war journalism, cinema, and fashion.

    Pullen’s photography focuses on social values and taboos while purposely taking aim at the media’s exploitation of sex, gender, and violence. Pullen has noted that she targets society’s glamorization of violent acts and crimes by literally re-dressing what are deeply disturbing events. Her work ultimately forces the viewer to question their own values and observations.

    To create her signature cinematic photos, Pullen’s photoshoots closely resemble high-budget films. She often utilizes cinematic lighting, film-crews, stuntmen, stylists, makeup artists and models. At times, she has up to one hundred people for a shoot.

    Pullen’s most notable series, High Fashion Crime Scenes (2003-2017) is based on vintage crime scenes she mined from the files of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office. Photographs from this series employ the power of fashion to disguise and distract, drawing the viewer’s attention away from the otherwise gruesome subjects.

    Pullen’s photography is in the permanent collections of the: The Getty Museum; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; Museum of Contemporary Art, Florida; Fredrick R. Weisman Museum of Art, California; Nasher Museum of Contemporary Art, North Carolina; Walker Art Center Museum, Minnesota; Museum of Art and History, California. Her work is also included in notable private collections around the world.

    Pullen’s work has been featured in hundreds of publications including: The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Esquire, ELLE, Architectural Digest, London’s Sunday IndependentSPIN, W, Flaunt Magazine, 1814 Magazine, and Vanity Fair. She has published multiple photography books which have received critical acclaim.

    Melanie was awarded the D&AD Yellow Pencil Award.

    She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.


  • Leica Camera

    Leica Camera

    Ignite your passion for photography with Leica Camera at Photoville

    Discover the allure of Leica photography at Photoville through curated photowalks complemented by a Leica on Loan program. From action photography to environmental portraiture, you’ll experience Leica photography and guidance by acclaimed Leica photographers. 

    Leica Camera is founded on a tradition of optical excellence and a conscious focus on the essentials of exquisite image making. For over a century, the brand has motivated visual storytelling through the quintessential union of craftsmanship, design and experience, providing essential tools that influence the art, culture and creation of photography. Photoville attendees can see this firsthand at the Leica Pavilion, which will showcase a one-of-a-kind photographic experience through a variety of interactive Leica activities designed to ignite your passion for photography.

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