Sam Taylor-Johnson
English, born 1967
Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Mein Lieber Schwan,
ACC Gallery Weimar

In her lush, highly charged photographs and films, Sam Taylor-Johnson examines “who we are and how we work through our identity, how we perceive ourselves in the world,” as she describes. Though she has photographed unpopulated landscapes, often as stand-ins for emotional states and human subjects, Taylor-Johnson focuses her camera primarily on herself and other people, including celebrities. Never straightforward portraiture, her works abound with psychological, and often physical, tension, with subjects frequently caught in the middle of ambiguous scenarios or in heightened emotional states. In her short film, Ascension (2003), for example, a man dressed in a dark suit tap-dances, with a white dove balanced on his head, on top of another man lying perfectly still on the ground, as if dead.