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This Photographer's Provocative Work Evokes The Arab Spring And Occupy Movement

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The work of local artist Roya Falahi is stark, evocative and raw. She uses a pretty limited palate: black, white and blood red. The 34-year-old photographer and multimedia artist draws from the global movements of her generation, like the Arab Spring, Occupy and more recently the Ferguson protests.

Her work is mysterious with enough specifics to hint at social or spiritual movements. It includes hard edges like studies of metal studs, an upraised fist and a person with their face covered in a veil sitting in a meditation pose. In one photo, her own face is completely obscured by a thick layer of human hair. In another, the subject is saturated in blood red, wearing clothing that veers between the grungy attire of Occupy protesters and a magazine fashion editorial.

But she doesn’t want to give too much away about her work.

“I’m always interested the aesthetics of protest,” she said. She aims to give her art a message but, “I like that there’s a mystery to it.”

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Falahi uses a 4x5 camera, which results in high-resolution pictures that gives her work a pared-down, almost minimalistic appearance. She expects some of her new work to draw inspiration from kundalini yoga, which she has been practicing. But just because of that don’t expect to see any flowery, fluttery work. Falahi is guided by her environment and her instincts.

“I really have been influenced by picking apart pieces of music, song lyrics, fashion photography, politics,” she said. “I like to piece aspects of those things together.”

She currently has an exhibit at the Vincent Price Art Museum called “Study of Studs.” You can view her photography website here.