Pretend You're Actually Alive



Leigh Ledare (b. 1976, USA) brings controversial social photography to the forefront with his projects. Pretend You're Actually Alive is perhaps his best known work, a series of explicit and comfortably nude images of his mother, occasionally involved in sexual acts with her boyfriend. The first image in this series goes even further, and is a collaborative effort with a child. The exhibition text for WIELS described the image: "A three-year old was presented with a photograph of Ledare's naked mother and given oil-based crayons with which to scribble and draw on the image at will." Provoking key taboos through his photography, they're disarming in their ability to repulse, as well as beautiful.

The selection of images shown here is not exclusively from the project Pretend You're Actually Alive, but is an excerpt from the exhibition at WIELS in Brussels.

To learn more about Leigh Ledare's work, read our article about encountering his work at Paris Photo.