From an interview with the artist:
Carlsen began his career at 16 when he sold a photo he took of the police yelling at him and his friends for burning a picket fence to the local paper. For the next ten years Asger worked as a crime photographer before moving on to shooting ads for magazines. Then one day while messing around on his computer he created an image of a face with a bunch of eyes that led him to the distorted photographs he has become known for. His eerie and often humorous work makes you question what is human.
The rest of us just wonder “How did he do this?” They’re very striking pictures.
It struck me that they look very bizarre. I’m really critical of my work. It was the same when I first saw my book, Wrong. I don’t want my pictures to look like diseases from the 1700s. The true challenge is finding the balance between fiction and reality to create something so subtle it almost feels real.
I guess your work is more like a picture of a sculpture or a piece of art.
Exactly. I like it when my work looks low tech because it makes the images look more interesting or weird or real. I don’t get anything out of looking at a perfectly shot image. I’m tired of photography. There’s so much of it, it’s so exhausted. I much prefer creating images and doing what I want with the medium, like Man Ray did.
To go back to your change of direction in photography, why do you think that first image with the weird multi-eyed face was so scary and yet appealing to you? That sort of stuff is all you do now.
I think it has a lot to do with my upbringing. I never felt like I belonged anywhere. I felt really awkward and was bad in school. This is a way for me to come to terms with things, explain myself, and be comfortable with who I am. I’ve never succeeded in adapting. Everybody has to do what works for them. I’m comfortable with what I’m doing now, but I’m not at all comfortable writing, for example. [Laughs] You must think I’m crazy or something.
No, I see what you mean. It’s your way of facing your fears.
It’s definitely a way for me to deal with fears and awkwardness. It’s growing up.
Read the rest of the interview here.