Mirrors, 2020-2022

Mirrors focuses on bodies and reflections.

/For the full project description, please scroll to the bottom of the page./

NOTE: This series of photographs contains some intimate images of the project participants that are not posted here and full-length texts. If you are interested in the whole project, please contact me.

Athene

„I have always struggled with my body, even when I was skinny. Eight years ago, I started gaining a lot of weight. My body issues got worse to the point I absolutely hated my body. Now I know my weight gain is related to my gender identity dysphoria. In November 2021 I started hormone replacement therapy. Having the chance to watch yourself for two hours from different angles and explore my body was an unbelievable experience. I started to notice body parts like my thighs which I began to love immediately.“

Ursula

“Working with the mirrors was often an „aha experience”. So many perspectives that I couldn’t see before. The scar after a heart surgery faded away after long years but it is still present. The hair, which serves a protection and yet is „frowned upon“ – it looks wonderful in the mirror. During the photo shooting the different views of the body – always new reflections.”

Elisabeth

“The desire and the fun I had during this photo session on a large roof terrace between the railways, train noises and flowers made me feel I have managed it. I managed to enjoy my body, to enjoy being naked and in the spotlight, to sit, to lie.”

Uli

“I took part in this project not only to get a snapshot of this body but to pay conscious and appreciative attention to those body parts and feelings, „it“ demands. At the same time, this secure framework will be abandoned and made public. To a public that was and is shaping, for the harsh treatment that I sometimes maintain with my body.”

Mariana

“In my experience, it is often easier to offer acceptance and love to others than to yourself, when it comes to social norms and expectations regarding the body. Through the distance created by this art project, I was able to extend part of this exercise in appreciation of myself.”

Bas

„After I saw the photos for the first time, I was confused. I didn’t recognize the person in them and asked myself: who did you photograph? And also what did I perform there? I feel a great distance from the person in the photos.

… I’ve looked at the photos again and wonder why I look so sad in many photos? I am now slowly recognizing myself a little more, yet can hardly look at myself.”

Pêdra

„During the shooting memories came back to me of my mother covering mirrors when it stormed when we lived in Nova Iguaçu (where I was born), in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She covered the mirrors for fear that the thunders would go through them.”

My need to work on topic such as the body stems from the understanding that many issues, social or personal, carry the body at their core. Whether we are talking about physical or mental health, or about global politics, we cannot bypass the question of the body. The body is, therefore, one of probably the most important positioning factors in the social hierarchy. I am also fascinated by the vast knowledge that our bodies carry and their ability to memorize.

When we stand in front of a mirror, the reflection we see is very significant feedback that we get in a split second. This information is not easy for everyone to deal with, and I believe it is because society has made some bodies more vulnerable than others. Society is putting us under pressure by teaching us about the way we should look from a very young age. These expectations put people of different ages, genders, sexualities, and cultures in the position to be discriminated against and bullied. It affects their mental and physical health on a daily basis.

For that reason, in this series, I worked with people who face discrimination of different types. Instead of using only one, I was interested in exploring the possibilities of using a couple of mirrors. This setup was meant to avoid conventional posing, those we all do before we go out to meet friends in the bar, or prepare for a date. Multiple mirrors gave multiple sights and a possibility to play with postures. It was a chance for the participants to see their bodies from angles they have never seen before, get to know themselves better, and hopefully, to empower themselves.

Together we created a safe space for the photoshoot. This was a room of their choice, something like a stage just for themselves. I was trying to disturb the process as little as possible with my presence, photographing from the sidelines. Finally, after I show pictures to them, I asked them to share their experiences in the project in a form of a short text or an interview.