Most people take nearly identical photos on their vacation. A nice smile in front of a stunning landmark, maybe with a slight head tilt and a hand on the hip to really spice things up every now and again. Artist Stephanie Leigh Rose is not like most people and doesn’t take your typical vacation photo.
Stephanie has launched STEFDIES, an online photographic art series of her playing dead in famous locales from around the world. As she told Bored Panda, “The entire point of STEFDIES, is that the viewer is allowed to participate in the image, whether that is by imagining the circumstances of the surrounding image, or in recreating the STEFDIES pose in their own photos. My long hair (and swimsuit in selected photos) would allude to the fact I am a female, but outside of a viewer coming to one of my gallery shows and meeting me personally, I prefer to keep STEFDIES neutral and free of age, nationality, politic, socioeconomic status. STEFDIES is a character of its own, and I invite people to connect with that, and interpret the scenes as they wish. Part of the joy and humor of STEFDIES, is no-one knows exactly what the hell is going on, and that’s pretty much a direct reflection of real life in general.”
Stephanie does no set-up for her photographed “deaths.” She doesn’t use props or plan in advance. It’s all spur-of-the-moment in order to keep authenticity. “All STEFDIES images occur spontaneously in my daily life,” she said. “The images the viewer happens to see are the 25% of images that are useable. This is why a STEFDIES image is the opposite of a selfie. A selfie has controlled conditions, specific lighting, makeup/hair/wardrobe, an agenda, and is focused on the individual personality- it is a contrived and manipulated image distorted to achieve a desired result. STEFDIES is the polar opposite- I get one chance to get the shot, if it doesn’t happen, c’est la vie. We have one life to live, and we don’t get re-dos- and i would like to think i try to capture that feeling, that fleeting sense of life and its impermanence, in my photos.”
And Stephanie has “died” in some truly stunning places.