The exhibition features fifteen previously unseen images that both celebrate human existence, but also subvert and alter the human body to introduce previously unexplored perspectives. Masc-presenting bodies are left nude and vulnerable, their bodies contorting and stretching into various shapes, while femme-presenting bodies are fully clothed or compartmentalised, which a near-total inversion of the roles these bodies often play in photography. Indeed, Altered States reflects Sven’s desire to explore themes of masculinity, vulnerability, and the human form, while also introducing the viewer to an alternate world. The surreal, imaginative color palette assuredly feels like a break from reality.
Sven has shared that his inspiration for Altered States came from him reflecting on his past work and realising that he was excited by abstraction and distortion. As he explored this idea, the project grew larger than he initially anticipated. “I began to realise how the subject could be altered in so many ways,” Sven tells us. The photographer explores this capacity for alteration, not just with human bodies, but with flowers and wholly abstract pieces, as well, distorting them just enough that a viewer is compelled to ask what truly is happening.