Asger Carlsen is a Danish photographer based in New York. I met him at an art opening of his in Copenhagen a few months age, and instantly found his images really funny, demented and arousing in a way that made me feel guilty for being turned on. His new book, Wrong, is out now on Morel Books, the art-book and zine publisher who previously published Ryan McGinley and VICE’s Jonnie Craig.
Your work is LOLZ. Would you say that’s a fair assessment?
Asger Carlsen: It’s fair. It’s been really fun for me to work on.
So what’s Wrong?
There is nothing wrong with “wrong.” In fact one of my favorite songs is What’s Wrong by Matt Elliot.
I hate to be a party pooper, but it’s clear that the images have been doctored. Are you trying to trick people? Is it important that when people look at the images they feel like these situations could be real?
I think is good for people to see things they don’t believe or that gross them out. Seeing something you don’t understand opens your mind up to new ways of understanding. Basically, I’m more interested in telling a good story than the truth. It’s like a lie you can get away with.
I found some of the images sexy, especially the ones with the wooden legs. Do you relate to them in that way at all?
I think all of them are sexy in their own way. But I’m happy to hear that you think that, thanks.
You shoot all the images yourself. When you’re shooting them, how much of the original image is designed ahead of time?
I try not to plan anything in my life. Things work better that way. Some of the images have no reference to anything created by God, so it was very much a case of really letting go of everything I have ever seen before in life. Although I do find inspiration in medical books and police evidence records.
What sort of reactions do people normally have when looking at your work?
I recently received a comment from a woman online saying, “It’s wrong and it’s sick.” Maybe she’s right, but I just have a strong need to entertain myself, and I really enjoy doing stuff like this. I like to confuse people.