Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Natalia Marzec – Specere

Oct 18, 2016 - Americo Gariety

Natalia Marzec is an artist based in Dublin, Ireland. Her recently published photobook, Specere, was shortlisted for the Unseen Dummy Award and was displayed in Amsterdam at the Unseen Photo Festival. From statement

This project is a photographic exploration of the concept of stigma in relation to individuals with Lyme Disease. As suggested by Goffman, the stigma is created when the individual feels he or she is not fulfilling social expectations and standards of how individual should look or behave. In the case of patients with Lyme Disease, it is their ‘imagined’  and unexplained sickness that becomes a stigmatizing experience, as the individual fails to meet stereotyped expectations that are implied in social actions. Prejudice and discrimination towards individuals with Lyme Disease causes embarrassment where the individual may feel ashamed and may hide chronic symptoms. 

The body of work is inspired by Sartre’s concept of visibility which suggests that the individual’s perception of itself depends on intersubjective relation of being observed and judged by onlooker. Sartre argues that we become self-critical, as we see ourselves through perspective of the observer, ‘’I see myself because somebody sees me’ (Sartre, J , 1977: 260) which is a reference to being publicly visible and being-seen-by-another. 

The project is focused on creating a strong visual expression of individual’s state while being aware of issues of visibility and sickness. I am constructing images that show the relationship of power between spectator and the subject matter. Through managing the model’s and its relation to spectator, I am recreating the imbalanced power relationship experienced by ill and stigmatised patients with Lyme Disease in these images and I am making visual connections to landscape, symptomatology and the phenomenological experience of being objectified. I have implied specific body language and photographic composition that creates connotations that are decoded by the spectator on the unconscious level.