Natalie Arriola Photography

Phantasmagoria

is a series of surreal portraits I started in late 2013. The first portrait of the group, "Chess Piece Face," was inspired by the René Magritte painting "The Son of Man." It is also a reference to a They Might Be Giants song, which is where my title for the piece comes from. As far as the intent behind this series goes, it is simply an experiement in creating images which combine elements in an unfamiliar way. Each image attempts to evoke that sense of the surreal or something which is beyond or outside of that which we perceive to be real. In some of the images I had a certain idea or concept in mind which guided me in arranging the composition, in others I chose to combine the elements as I did for purely aesthetic reasons. The pictures in and of themselves have no particular meaning aside from what might be given to them by the viewer. When asked about the meaning of his paintings Magritte said: “It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.” In this series, I am attempting to explore my own sense of mystery and appreciate it for the unknowable thing that it is.

Surreal portrait of a man with a chess piece hovering in front of his face. Surreal portrait of a woman holding her face in her hand, like a mask. Surreal portrait of a woman with dead roses hovering in front of her face.
Surreal portrait of a man who's face has been torn open to reveal outer space. Surreal Portrait of a woman, her head replaced by a large granite rock. Surreal portrait of a man with a mirror for a face. The mirror reflecting a desolate landscape.