Transforming the portrait – Cosmic Surgery by Alma Haser

“Cosmic Surgery is a photo book, set in the not too distant future where the world of cosmetic surgery is about to be transformed.”

Cover of Cosmic Surgery (left), Patient no 16. (right) © Alma Haser.

Cosmic Surgery is a photography project by Alma Haser in which the faces of the subjects she photographs are transformed into something unrecognisable. This book documents the results.

Cosmic Surgery started back in 2011 when Alma would construct origami shapes to attach to her own face, hiding or disguising her identity in a series of self-portraits. Friends and other willing participants eventually became the subjects, having intricate origami structures made from their faces. Each portrait is printed, sometimes numerous times, and folded into complicated origami shapes that are then placed over their original face. The combined assembly is then re-photographed creating unsettling results.

In the process of producing the first limited edition pop-up book, science writer Piers Bizony and designer Emily Macaulay joined the Cosmic Surgery team to help introduce a narrative background, layout and unique construction. This second edition wants to expand on those ideas. It will be a photo book set in a fictional, not too distant future, at a point where “intelligent materials” are just about to transform the world of cosmetic surgery.

The pledges will help fund: the production of the book

Support by pledging on kickstarter HERE

About Alma haser


Born into an artistic family in the Black Forest, Germany, Alma Haser is now based in London and the East coast. Specialising in carefully constructed portraiture influenced by her creativity and background in fine art, Alma creates striking work that catches the eye and captivates the mind.

Expanding the dimensions of traditional portrait photography, Alma takes her photographs further, using inventive paper-folding techniques to create layers of intrigue around her subjects, manipulating their portraits into futuristic flattened-paper sculptures.

Shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in 2012 for her piece ‘The Ventriloquist’, a portrait of two childhood friends, Alma has gone on to win third place at the 2012 Foto8 Summer Show and then the Magenta Foundation’s Bright Spark Award in 2013 for her ‘Cosmic Surgery; series. Her work has been exhibited worldwide.