Surreal Fairy Tale Photos of People with Animal Heads

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Polixeni Papapetrous’s photos are inviting and unsettling in equal measure. Stumble upon the Melbourne-based artist’s website and you’ll find tourists with big, fake, trollish but humanoid heads; a real little girl inserted into paintings of scenes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; and children playing hauntingly dangerous games. But what caught our eye more than any other series was 2009’s Between Worlds, a set of photos in which people with the heads of pigs, horses, and birds pose as archetypes: “harvesters” and “loners” and even “debutants.” The pictures are beautifully scenic, their colors saturated and their tableaux seemingly plucked out of Bizarro World fairy tales, but the animal-headed subjects and their strange poses lend the series an air of eeriness. Click through to see our favorite shots from Between Worlds, which we discovered via Beautiful/Decay, and visit Papapetrous’s website to explore 25 years’ worth of her work.

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Harvesters, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Players, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Reader, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Loners, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Watcher, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Ambassadors, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Pastoralist, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Provider, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Caretaker, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm

Polixeni Papapetrous, The Debutants, 2009, pigment ink print, 105 x 105 cm