Enter Maria Svarbova's strange, beautifully shot world of the not-quite-human

Maria Svarbova is our favourite photographer we've discovered this week.


Most of the characters in Maria Svarbova's photography aren't quite human.

They are perhaps cyborgs or alien subjegators or creatures with nascent superpowers - if TV shows like Humans or V or Heroes were as thoughtful and beautifully shot as the original French version of The Returned (which, appropriately, is back for its second series this Friday on More4).

Image: from Human Space.

Maria's characters live in pastel worlds of perfect stillness, and in the uncanny.

Image: from Human Space.


There's a sense of threat to some of them. In projects like Plastic World - where Maria's subjects aren't aggressive - but we find their soulless eyes disquieting and, in the absence of warmth or empathy, sense danger.

Image: from Plastic World.

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They're like unprovoked zombies, if zombies looked like perfect people not broken ones and their actions were driven by purpose without meaning (rather than just being) violently carnivorous. They're the synths of Humans, if they overthrew their human masters but then carried on their duties with no-one to cater for.

Image: from Plastic World.


The people in Slovenian photographer and art director Maria's latest project – Human Space – aren't devoid of emotion but it's clear they're not one of us. Whether alien or supernatural, they have abilities and concerns beyond our own.

Image: from Human Space.


You could interpret the characters of Human Space as following that much-used sci-fi visual trope of people pulled towards the heavens or locked in place by an unseen force – but it's clear that whatever's happening to these people (if you can call them people), it's by their own action.

Image: from Human Space.

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Translucent shows that Maria can work with humanity if she wants to. Based around the question "how easy would be to find the source of an illness, if a person was a transparent as a medusa [jellyfish]?", medical diagrams of ears, eyes, mouths and throats have been placed on subjects to reveal their conditions.

Image: from Translucent.


A sickly light blanches these photographs, and they've been retouched heavily with a softness that gives them a painterly feel.

Image: from Translucent.


Maria says that there are more photos to come for her Human Space series. We can't wait.

Image: from Human Space.

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This girl from Plastic World looks like she might be a resident of Scarfolk.