There is an unshakeable sense of intrigue that permeates Nadia Lee Cohen’s work. Heavily inspired by cinema and Americana, the photographer, filmmaker and self-portrait artist builds surreal dreamscapes and populates them with an array of fictional characters – from a glamorous ‘rabbit’ breaking into people’s backyards for Easter, to wax-faced women dying to achieve beauty ideals.
The British-born imagemaker first caught people’s attention when, aged just 22, she won the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. Now based in LA – and not even 30 yet – she has shot high-profile campaigns for fashion brand Miu Miu, and music videos for artists including A$AP Rocky and Kali Uchis.
Cohen’s latest project, however, is undoubtedly her most personal yet. Six long years in the making, Women is the photographer’s first monograph. Inside its pages are 100 portraits of women of all shapes and sizes, in various states of undress. Some are Cohen’s close friends, others she only met once to photograph, but all are women she admires for their unflinching and unapologetic femininity – whatever form that may take.
Here, Cohen discusses why growing up on a farm made her more creative, how she developed her no holds barred approach to visual storytelling, and the biggest challenges she faces as an imagemaker.