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The adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” would not be appropriate in the context of this show as this is exactly what I have tried to do. I have created personas without faces. By combining certain hairstyles and accessories, I determined their personalities. You look at these assemblages and they become someone you know or someone you’ve seen. Our physiognomy alone doesn’t determine who we are. Some people choose to stand out. They style themselves in such a way, that one can’t help but do a double take. Others try to blend in and stay in the shadows.
Persona Non Grata is a photographic series by Sydney-based photographer Juli Balla
Part still life, part character study, the series is stunning in its comedic concept and impeccable technical execution.
Balla has created “personas without faces” allowing people to judge a book by its cover. The series of characters defined only by their hair, accessory and a one-line statement create a sense of who they are, their status, their life’s work or their obsessions.
The work is a collaboration between Balla and hair stylist Kenneth Stoddart, who made bespoke wigs for each of the characters conceived by Balla.
Says Balla: “in this work I am investigating how little is needed to define individuals and the shifting concept of personal identity… I have removed the human element and let the outward accouterments speak for themselves.”
Hungarian born, Balla has been based in Australia since 1980 and has exhibited extensively since 1986. She is best known as a high-end commercial photographer specialising in beauty and advertising campaigns with a fashion edge. She is represented in Australia, Milan and Shanghai.
Campaign Brief, 2013
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Juli Balla - Untitled 13 - Where the Sidewalk Ends, 2015 - Pigment Print on Archival Paper - 87x133cm - Edition of 5
Juli Balla - Untitled 10 - Where the Sidewalk Ends, 2015 - Pigment print on Archival Paper - 87x133cm - Edition of 5
Juli Balla - Untitled 17 - Where the Sidewalk Ends, 2015 - Pigment Print on Archival Paper - 87x133cm - Edition of 5
Juli Balla - Photograph - Persona non grata - Elsie - Pigment prints on cotton rag art paper - 100x133cm - Editions of 3
Juli Balla - Photograph - Persona non grata - Magda - Pigment prints on cotton rag art paper - 100x133cm - Editions of 3
Juli Balla - Photograph - Persona non grata - Ravi - Pigment prints on cotton rag art paper - 100x133cm - Editions of 3