A Duality of Emotions: Walls’ “Displaced” Explores the Weight of Displacement


Acclaimed photographer Brad Walls unveils his latest project, “Displaced,” a thought-provoking series exploring the emotional turmoil of displacement. Following his widely lauded “Pools From Above” in 2022, Walls delves into a new territory: the Don Kohl Football Stadium in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Below you can see a small selection of images from the series. For more, please visit Brad Walls’ website. Additional information about the photo project by Brad Walls can be found below the images.

Displaced photo series by Brad Walls
Displaced photo series by Brad Walls

Shifting Perspectives:

The series comprises 17 images, marking a distinct departure for Walls. He explains his decision to switch from drone photography to a handheld camera: “I wanted to translate everything I had learned from aerial photography into handheld.” This shift in perspective grants viewers a more intimate experience, drawing them closer to the subject and the emotions she conveys.

The Inspiration Behind the Work:

“Displaced” embodies Walls’ desire to visually capture the complex emotions of being uprooted from one’s home. He explains, “The world is full of conflict at the moment – I wanted to make a series that looked at what that may feel like.” This powerful concept finds its form through the story of Valerie Marienko, a Ukrainian model forced to leave her war-torn home in Odessa in 2021.

Marienko’s personal story resonated deeply with Walls’ vision. “Coming to America in 2021 was difficult,” she reflects, “I felt instantly out of place.” Despite integrating into her new life, the produced images capture the lingering sense of duality she experienced.

A Masterful Visual Narrative:

Drawing inspiration from renowned photographers like Andreas Gursky and George Byrne, Walls masterfully weaves together repetition and solitude. He transcends simply “taking” photographs; he meticulously “paints with a camera,” duplicating and erasing Marienko’s figure to evoke specific emotions. This interplay amplifies the stark vastness of the surroundings, echoing internal struggles and a sense of monotony.

Color: A Tool for Emotional Impact:

Walls utilizes a specific color palette to further enhance the emotional impact of the series. Red symbolizes fiery passion, white represents stark emptiness, and blue embodies chilling isolation. Each meticulously chosen hue plays a pivotal role in the composition, “choreographing meaning,” as Walls himself describes. He emphasizes, “color theory is one of the mainstays of my work,” revealing the deliberate intention behind his color choices.

“Displaced” is a powerful visual narrative that transcends the boundaries of static images. It invites viewers to delve deeper, to contemplate the emotional weight of displacement and the human spirit’s resilience in the face of upheaval.

All images © by Brad Walls. Don’t hesitate to browse the Photography and Art sections on WE AND THE COLOR for more.

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