Micaela McLucas is a Los Angeles born photographer currently based between London and New York City. She’s known for taking provocative, interactive self-portraits and playing both “actor” and “director” to create images that are at once surreal and grounded in physical excess. I had a chance to speak with her about her current solo exhibition Cirrus, now on display at Castor Gallery through July 1.

To connect with Micaela McLucas check out her social media links below, or go view her exhibition at Castor Gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, 254 Broome St New York, NY 10002



So, why “Cirrus?”

The presence of Cirrus clouds in the sky indicates that there are disturbances in the atmosphere, most likely foreshadowing an approaching storm. They are composed of ice crystals, often reflecting light, and creating optical marvels such as halos in the sky – these clouds provide the foundations of Micaela McLucas’s latest body of work. Cirrus is an exploration and culmination of eerie subject matter placed in a setting between reality and fiction. Like the Cirrus clouds predicting a storm.

Can you talk about the drive to blur fantasy and reality?

I think reality is very subjective- the irony in photography is that it was invented to objectively document life and in fact all it did was prove that nothing is ever entirely objective, so with my work i really try to push the complete opposite direction and really make everything that appears in front of me warp to the point where it looks like something in a fantasy. I think that with enough curiosity with all that is around us we are more able to appreciate and be fascinated by this life.



Are you shooting all these? Are they planned? And what are you shooting them on?

I am constantly playing both the actor and the director in each image. I shoot other people, but often I am in my own images. Most of them are unplanned, although recently I’ve been experimenting more on series based projects. I have so many different types of cameras, I’m really not picky about always using my big expensive lenses. I even enjoy taking photos with my iPhone. I’m always on the go somewhere so usually i keep a manual point and shoot camera in my hand and that’s enough for me. Half of my process is really the interaction between me and my environment and always having something to document it with me. I never leave the house without at least my phone and one other camera.


Can you talk a bit about how you came up? Like, were you an awkward teenager who suddenly got into a punk rock lifestyle or something?

I live in the clouds mostly. literally! Having grown up bouncing between Buenos Aires and Los Angeles I spent a lot of time on airplanes and never really fit in anywhere on the ground. So my mind took off on the runway as well and i’ve been an artist ever since. Travelling is infectious its a hunger, its a drug, so are love and art. These are my three greatest appetites in life. The more I create, the more I explore, the more my soul burns with love, the bigger my universe evolves, infinitely. After all, art is what makes life more interesting than art itself.

Also, how did you begin making these things?

With photography, I’ve found a way to disturb, captivate, intoxicate people; to open their curiosity to see the world in a more fascinating way. I'[ve been lucky enough to show my work frequently in the past year, and play around with the actual installation and size of the prints. The gallery owner Justin and I came up with the concept for “Cirrus” and curated these 6 images as the most powerful and striking series. After that i really went back into the originals and painted over them so that all the colors and hues were really dreamy looking and these were the final results.



Aside from photography, what are your favorite bands right now and who are you listening to?
I am a total music junky, that is a big part of why i moved to London, because the music scene is still so great. Its hard to say who are my favorites but recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Tame Impala, The Acid, Jungle, Caribou etc – I’m also really into hip hop and house but those don’t really count as bands i suppose.

So, you’re not into metal?

Not a big fan of metal… However! When I was 14 my best friend’s dad would always pick us up from school with heavy metal playing so loud in his car that my seat would vibrate. Every single day. He would take us two tiny 14 year old girls with him to these insane concerts like slipknot where it was nothing but giant men three times as big as us moshing. I had no idea what was going on! He was so cool though I went where ever he wanted to take me, he was the first one to get me into cool stuff like Portishead while I was really young so he was special. Ha.

Any artists in particular right now who are killing it?

I am obsessed with the photographer Ren Hang who is based in Chine. His images are incredible. I’m also currently addicted to this design collective called Numen/For Use. The work they are putting out is so powerful.


What is your dream project?

I don’t have one specific dream project, maybe having a giant space inside of say, the Moma or Tate Modern where I could really run wild with my imagery. I love incorporating installation into my work as much as I can when I have a space to play with. Luckily, with my current exhibition, I’ve been able to create my own dream world where the audience and the images kind of coexist under the lights. Its fun, I want to continue to make fun art and fun environments for people to step into and sort of lose and find themselves.