Photographer to watch: Annie Collinge

It’s difficult to pin London-born, Brooklyn-based photographer Annie Collinge into one specific category of photography. Her range is wide and includes portraiture, landscape, still life and fashion editorial – and she does each well. She’s photographed Malcom Gladwell, Nico Muhly and Stephen Jones and creates the most imaginative and playful still lifes for accessories pages in fashion mags I’ve ever seen. She also has a great blog where she posts photos of fleeting and humorous street shots form her travels as well as around her neighborhood in New York.

Her tongue-in-cheek Americana series, “Americaca,” includes some quietly startling images from places across the country, both large and small, urban and rural (like the bunny-eared NYC receptionist or the VW/spider bug picnic table canopy in Colorado), but it’s her “Project with Sarah May” series that is the most striking. Collinge’s ingenious use of fabric and pattern in this set of portraits is both visually breathtaking and unsettling. The matching floral-on-floral photograph in particular is mesmerizing, but the image of a human shrouded in cloth tied about the neck is also slightly disturbing. In fact, there seems to be something slightly off in all her week, no matter how bright and sunny they might appear at first. Like the spider hovering over the picnic table, even the most bucolic landscapes get a dose of the eery. The photograph of the child in the party hat approaching the bathroom sink is rich in soft, pink hues but is it just me or is there something a little scary-movie about the fact that we can’t see his/her face?