«Dear Santa Claus,
If you would like to see all the decorations intact on the Christmas tree for the next year, I suggest you bring me a new dishwasher, a new smartphone and especially that beautiful 4WD off-road Jeep which climbs everywhere for my child and which I saw in the store in front of the house. If you don’t grant even just one of my wishes by midnight on 24 December, I shall have to destroy one Christmas decoration at random for every hour of delay». I like to imagine that Alan Sailer‘s story started like this, after a Christmas spent not exactly according to his expectations and after being turned into a Grinch himself… but the actual story is quite different.
My dear “Grinch addicts” what can be more beautiful– after enduring yet another Christmas spent inflicting over-eating and drinking on ourselves – to afford the luxury of destroying all the Christmas decorations? Yes, yes, just like in the best iconoclastic tradition. Make them “pop”, one by one. In a spectacular way. Just to take one small, sadistic revenge. Wouldn’t you like that? Relax, someone else has already taken this demanding responsibility: Alan Sailer… precisely. This Californian photographer has become one of the most “clicked” and researched artists on the web and not only in a very short time; his series of images “The War Against Christmas” has already become a cult. Sailer’s personal “war” against Christmas started around 2009 and consists of a series of “high-speed” images of Christmas tree decorations shot by an air gun; often the decorations are placed on a coloured backdrop and filled with materials such as coloured plastic balls, polystyrene, multi-coloured jelly babies and even sweets, to make the impact and the subsequent explosion even more spectacular.
It is then the camera’s task to “freeze” the moment, with the crucial support of the high speed flash (made by Sailer himself!) which produces flashes of up to 1 millionth of a second. His images are ones of spectacular beauty and denote a thorough technical knowledge and a formal artistic and creative ability which leaves one speechless. Adam Sailer’s artwork does not stop at Christmas iconoclasm, instead it also develops on the use of everyday objects and food in his images, fired one against the other are “frozen” at maximum impact, always with irony and a good dose of irreverence; the walnut kills the apple, the shows all its glory, or the malfunctioning walkman is punished properly … etc, etc.
But remember two things:
1 – do not even think about attempting Sailer-type shots at home, unless you have professional experience of this type of photography: weapons, even if only compressed air ones, are highly dangerous and should only be handled by experts; moreover, keep away from a high-speed flash if you do not have extensive knowledge of electricity: this type of flash can produce a 20,000 volt power discharge.
2 – If you are planning to invite Sailer to your home on Christmas day, hide the Christmas tree or you risk him seizing your most precious decoration, to then “shoot it” when he gets home!
You can see Adam Sailer’s wonderful images here