Ezo Renier’s ‘Phobias’ Is a Visual and Conceptual Confrontation of Fear

By creating stylized scenes, photographer Ezo Renier makes fear become tolerable – even beautiful.

Saint Petersburg-based Ezo Renier described photography as his daydream about the world around him. It’s no surprise, then, that his body of work tackles surreal or fantastical imagery – from contorted women in glass boxes in the woods to humans depicted as creatures. They’re the stuff nightmares are made of – or dreams, depending on how you look at it.

One such set of images is phobias. Ezo explains:

“As you can see from the name of the series, I focused on studying how close men get acquainted with their fears.”

As the title of Ezo’s series implies, phobias depicts humans facing their greatest fears – though not exactly in the way you might think. As is his usual, Ezo’s pictures make use of surreal imagery to get the point across. Some are straightforward, such as the image of a girl holding a disheveled clown doll or that of another being surrounded by birds. Others are a bit more imaginative, like that of the girl with her hands covering her face as she stands before the sea, with hands surrounding her ominously, or another showing a girl standing before a burning door.

Fear obviously has negative connotations. Just the thought of our own fears can make our skin crawl. They make us want to look away from anything remotely related to them. But phobias does the opposite. By creating stylized scenes, Ezo somehow makes fear become tolerable. Here, fear becomes something beautiful that invites you to keep staring, to let go of discomfort.

The next thing you know, you’re facing what scares you.

If you liked phobias, Ezo Renier has more projects similar to this that I highly recommend checking out! Swing by his Behance portfolio to see them.

All images by Ezo Renier. Used with Creative Commons permission.