Joel Strong runs one of the most popular celebrity Instagram accounts — but he never actually shoots any of his famous subjects.
Instead, Strong creates bizarre scenes with well-known faces all over New York City by holding photo cutouts of celebrities’ heads in front of other people’s bodies.
And with photos of Twiggy grocery shopping and Beyoncé riding a motorised wheelchair, nearly every post on his Instagram account is sure to make you look twice.
The New York-based visual artist uses strangers, friends, and even people he meets on Tinder for the photos.
The account, called mydaywithleo, is a huge hit on Instagram, where Strong’s attracted 156,000 followers. He also earned a place on the Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 best Instagram accounts.
The project began as just an inside joke with his girlfriend and a cut-out of Leonardo DiCaprio. Now, he’s featured celebrity faces from Kylie Jenner to Kim Jung-un, and some celebrities are starting to take notice.
Here are a few of his best shots.
The faceless bodies in Strong's shots are a mixture of unknowing subjects, people he has approached, and people who have approached him. Unknowing subjects pose difficulties for Strong, whose photos rely on careful positioning. 'Sometimes I can sit somewhere for an hour or two waiting because it's difficult to line it up as people are walking by,' he told Business Insider.
Fashion bloggers, models, and fans often reach out to Strong and ask to participate in his project. He's even had fans recognise him while he was working and ask to be photographed.
One unusual way that Strong recruits participants is through Tinder, an app traditionally used for those seeking dates and hook-ups. He posts his artwork and contact information in a profile on the app, hoping to find other users who might be interested in posing for a photograph. Last year, he met and photographed 14 people he had found through Tinder. 'It's actually been a pretty good fallback place to find people to meet,' he said.
Strong generally hits the streets with 4-5 cutouts on hand, so he's ready for any opportunity that presents itself. When Business Insider spoke with him, he was about to leave his house with a Kendall and Kylie Jenner double-head cut-out, a Robin Williams cutout, and a few Golden Girls cutouts.
His photos has caught the eye of some of the celebrities whose faces he's borrowed, despite the fact he rarely tags them in his Instagrams. After posting a picture of 'The Wonder Years' cast members Fred Savage and Josh Saviano, he was astonished to see Savage comment 'Yes!!! I made it!'
'I was like, 'No f**king way,'' Strong said. 'It was really Fred Savage and he had been following me and saw his face pop-up.'
Strong's been hired by numerous marketing campaigns. Most recently, he worked on a project with EDM artist Diplo and his record label, Mad Decent. At the request of the acclaimed rapper and producer, Strong created a stop-motion dancing video of Diplo.
Strong's work is structured around various series, such as #mydaywithart or #mydaywithbey. He's currently in the middle of a series called #mydaywithkardashianstakingselfies.
He's also on Snapchat under the user name 'mydaywithleo.' Strong says Snapchat allows him to be 'a little bit more informal and personable.' He updates Snapchat several times a day with behind the scenes perspectives on this work.
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