Nadia Lee Cohen’s photographs are as cinematic as the Kubrick and Lynch films she cites as influences. She creates new worlds and characters which subvert the flawless Stepford wife type of images we’re so used to scrolling past - her characters indulge in the worlds which they inhabit, yet are aware of their superficiality and temporality. She’s drawn to the vulgar, the glamorous, the dramatic - and we see that in everything from her subjects’ mahogany tans to their exaggerated prosthetics. This love of the dramatic is one of the things that drew her to LA, where she now resides.
Alongside her photographs, Cohen has directed videos for brands and musicians from Margiela to A$AP ROCKY, and is an acclaimed self-portrait artist. She’s constantly transforming herself into characters for her work, and this is especially evident on her Instagram: it’s hard to tell where her art ends and life begins - it all seems to be one. One saturated, surreal dreamscape of a life, where she is the main character.
She says, “When I am passionate about a project I struggle to move on or do anything else until that particular project is finished in its entirety. Usually this is when I do my best work, however, at times I can lose the ability to differentiate where my work ends and my life begins; hence the confusion about whether my life imitates art or vice versa.”
Rollacoaster caught up with Nadia to discuss her book, Women, which shows powerful femininity in so many different forms, her creative and mundane quirks (from her favourite time of day to work, to her favourite breakfast) and the qualities that make her want to photograph someone.