STIGMA

ARTIST STATEMENT

As an artist I try to visually capture the essence of contemporary society. The themes I explore through my images are those that depict the often hidden but devastating effects of modern life. My goal is to create controversial images that provoke. Through the use of bold colors, photo manipulation, and retouching techniques, I translate my vision and build the vernacular between the artist and the viewers. 

In this series I explore ubiquitous social issue – stigmatization of differences.

It becomes harder and harder to conform in this world full of “cool” and “not cool”, “have” and “have nots”. We are exposed to stigmas and judgment every day through social networks, TV screens and pages of the magazines. All too often we get judged by our appearance, stigmatized, and rejected by society not having a chance to express our personality and show our true beauty. Stigmatization of differences can trigger a process, which begins with unhappiness at the inability to conform, then ostracism leading to social loneliness, self-harm and ultimately suicide. I personally felt the stigma of being different as a teenager. I understand the thin line between finding support and spiraling down into suicide. And when selecting my models for this on going series, I was gratified to find young women who had personal and deep emotional connections with the subject matter – the woman who dresses differently than others and bears the stigma of being considered “cheap”, and “easy to get” the woman who is stigmatized as fat and resorts to anorexia or bulimia, the woman who is a geek, the one who is a sub-culture representative or the one who suffers from a disability or illness that makes her different. Each one of these is a victim of the stigma of labels and pressure to conform. Every photograph depicts a character on that thin edge – between life and death. Their decision isn’t made yet, but I hope they decide to live. I was inspired to create this series by the Project Semicolon that offers support to victims of depression, self-harm or suicidal attempts.

CREATIVE CREDITS

I would like to thank a fantastic team that worked on this project:

  • MUA: Lilia Budnik
  • Hairstylist: Cameron LeSiege
  • Wardrobe Stylist: Argie Mitra
  • Models (in order of appearance): Sarah Alkhoury Heather Shaw, Samantha Rager, Julia Savage, Melissa Connors.