In the collective imagination, astronauts are up in space, in virtual, weightless solitude light years from earth and everything familiar. And if, instead, the place they feel the saddest is from their own sofas, in their very own homes?
Hunter Freeman, a photographer based in San Francisco, turns our pre-conceptions upside down to give us an answer and a laugh. The protagonist of the photos in his astronaut series are shot while doing the most mundane things, always with an air of comic loneliness: while they wander among supermarket aisles, sadly throwing crumbs to pigeons, even all alone at a pool table. And yet, despite these melancholy scenes, it’s hard to look at his photographs without smiling.«The idea of the series came to me because I had the suit for an assignment, and I had two extra days before it had to go back to the rental house,» Freeman explained to us, «I couldn’t let the opportunity slip by without shooting something.»
Besides astronauts, his work (done for agencies like Martin/Williams, TBWA Chiat/Day, DDB, Crispin Porter and companies such as Apple), there are collectors of garden gnomes, heads made out of gears that look more expressive than real humans, and housewives armed with flame-throwers, more terrifying than any desperate case from Wisteria Lane. There are also obese cats and contemplative dogs and cows. His world is ironic, creative and colourful. Just like his favourite film, Amélie. «My style is humorous, natural, with lots of production value», explains Freeman. And if his work were a dish? «Dessert, because there are all kinds, but probably a chocolate soufflé.»