Photographs by Hayley Eichenbaum

The artworks of DECO’s #SummerIssue Opener pages were thanks to Hayley Eichenbaum – a Los-Angeles based performance and installation artist – whose vision translates into photographs that perfectly captured the spirit of our latest issue on shelf.

Hayley Eichenbaum photographs as seen in DECO's Summer issue
Hayley Eichenbaum photographs as seen in DECO’s Summer issue

Are you inspired to shoot by your direct surrounds and environment on a daily basis, or do you prefer being in a new place to create new bodies of work?
I definitely use the road as an influence; Travel helps me distinguish compositions and perspectives that I would otherwise overlook in my home-based surroundings. Being in a new place activates more senses, thus producing more thoughtful and vulnerable work.

Do you have specific themes you follow in your photography?
Within my conceptual, performative work I focus on breaking down ideals of femininity; It’s a strict research process and theme that I follow. However, I want my photography to be more playful.

I have found myself falling in love with roadtrip imagery. I enjoy exploring the paradox of a dissolving, romantic Americana, with surrealistic sky-scapes and kitschy architecture.

Photographs by Hayley Eichenbaum
Photographs Hayley Eichenbaum

Three words or a quote that best describes your work…
Surrealistic, graphic, balanced.

Photographs Hayley Eichenbaum
Photographs Hayley Eichenbaum

Colour plays an important role in your photographers. Does that follow into other areas of your style – interiors, fashion etc?
Colour – or lack there of – plays an enormous role in all aspects of my life. For years, I gravitated towards warm, somewhat loud colours reminiscent of the late 60s/early 70s. Lately, when it comes to fashion and interior design, I find myself entranced by monochrome palettes: minimal, no fuss. Within my photography, I practice the opposite: pastels and primaries…anything goes as long as there is a cohesive palette that compliments the intended composition.

If you could go anywhere to create a new body of work, it would be…
I’m heavily inspired by images of Morocco as of late. Anywhere in Morocco would be a dream come true.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Instagram, in general, has provided some of the most memorable responses. I was so hesitant to join the platform in the first place, thinking it was a rabbit hole of selfies and promotional gimmicks. While that world does exist, I ended up being welcomed into an amazing and talented support system of artists and
creative supporters. Their encouragement continues to surprise and humble me.

A trend is…
Something that is widely accepted and explored – socially, aesthetically, physically, conceptually, politically. Not everyone takes it upon themselves to be a trendsetter, but I find that everyone at one point in their life follows a trend.

What trends do you see happening in terms of photography and/or Instagram?
When it comes to concept, there has been a lot of nudity as a statement and aggressive street photography. Our cultural and political circumstances can largely define what people are leaning towards capturing. When it comes to colour and compositional trends, I’ve been seeing a lot of pastels paired with smooth, elliptical shapes.

Trendsetters based in USA you admire?
Many classics: Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Jane Fonda, Wes AndersonStephen Shore, Miranda July (to name a few!).

Digital or film?
I have a deep respect for film. However, I love the breadth that digital allows. Currently I only work in digital.

A good photograph is …
One that tells a story. There should be some mystery and some narrative. Images that I gravitate to aesthetically play with both organic and geometric shapes.

Photographs Hayley Eichenbaum
Photographs Hayley Eichenbaum

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve been accused often of being too contrived or forced. It wasn’t until after college that one of my collaborators emphasized that my overt desire to be refined can be a brand – it’s a strength not necessarily a setback. I have learned to let go over the years within my creative process, but truth be
told, I experience more satisfaction when I’m a little more calculated. I was encouraged to own my voice while still finding ways to challenge it.

Top 3 major influences on your work?
There are different influences depending on the medium I am enacting. Matthew Barney, Stanley Kubrick, and Isabella Rossellini are at the top of my general list in terms of their interdisciplinary and conceptual approaches.

Photographs Hayley Eichenbaum
Photographs Hayley Eichenbaum

Top 3 artistic icons of all time?
Marcel Duchamp, John Baldessari, Marina Abramović

Who else should Elle Decoration be following on Instagram?
@locastro, @aleia._, @annyversary, @teklan, @junocalypso are all amazing trendsetters.

Who should Elle Decoration have their design eye on in Los Angeles?
Jimmy Marble, Elise Mesner, and Lauren Randolph are a few of my favorite LAbased creatives. They also have phenomenal IG accounts.

What is your dream project?
My dream is to have access to a massive space that I could transform into the ultimate, surrealistic set. Ideally it would act as the background for both live performance, still-photography – and, if we’re talking dreams here – there would be a full-length film that develops from this vibrant, interdisciplinary space. (Think Matthew Barney and his series “The Cremaster Cycle”).

Do you have one particular image or shoot that is your favorite work?
I’m currently investing my energy in a collaborative duo named “SETTLE DOWN” with fellow artist Zachary Swearingen. We are working on a series of aerial shots that depict a character who gets progressively more uncomfortable with the idea of “settling down” – both domestically and physically (in relationship to maturity and energy). The character – played by me and shot by Zachary – is a bit of a social outcast who trying to come to terms with antiquated and modern ideals. It has been so much fun to lose myself in this process. Of all of my photographic endeavors, this is definitely my favorite so far.

One shouldn’t leave Los Angeles without…
I could list an object, and am tempted to simply put “a camera,” however, I think the most important thing to implement as you venture into this city is an alertness: An awareness for the gorgeous diversity of people, architecture, and landscape. LA is full of stories and incredulous scenes. Every day I make a conscious effort to keep my eyes open and to immerse myself in the seduction of this city – camera or no camera.

LEARN MORE: Instagram @inter_disciplinary | Website


ED 105The Summer Issue edition of ELLE DECORATION South Africa is on shelves now at your nearest magazine retailer. Featuring festive eats, cooling cocktails and all your must-have outdoor décor ideas, it’s your breezy summer respite. Pick up your copy today – across South Africa wherever magazines are sold – and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco, sharing your #SummerIssue #DECOselfie