Heads Down

Miami photog Lee Materazzi decapitates her subjects.

Head in Table captures a man wearing a tank top and boxer shorts bent over a dining table, as if losing his lunch, while his noggin disappears into a white tablecloth. The remains of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sit on a plate, and he holds a glass of OJ in one hand. The image is seamless and suggests he might have landed on the wrong end of a squabble with the wife.

Other enigmatic images depict women sprouting organically from their lawns or doing handstands in their living rooms.

To accomplish these optical illusions, Materazzi usually employs a bucket under the scene's surface so the subject can safely entomb his or her head during the shoot.

Head in Table: That's the last time he butters his toast with motor oil.
Lee Materazzi
Head in Table: That's the last time he butters his toast with motor oil.

"Some of these are natural found spaces; others are constructed," she says. "People have to trust me when I'm working on these pictures, because they feel confined with their heads stuck in a hole. But it's usually not for more than half an hour," the artist laughs.

Now that the lid is off her bucket, Materazzi has been left reeling from the attention she has begun to receive.

"It's been wonderful to have the support of these collectors, and I'm still trying to take it all in," she whispers bashfully.

If Materazzi continues at this pace, she will need to find an awfully big hole in which to hide.

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