'A Resume of a great Year. A Requiem for a greater Man.' – The Nomansland-project started unintentionally in the summer of 2016 when my friend Kristina first told me about her feelings of depression. Trying to explore her emotions through photography, we focused on facing discomfort and anxiety through nude photography, as a medium that removes all layers of defence and allows to fully self-reflect upon oneself. Nomansland grew entirely on motives of self exploration and positions itself as the entire opposite of glossy pseudo-erotic nude imagery, by portraying the ‘anti-aesthetic’ of personality and character, not fashionable looks. Commercial nude-photography has a strong tendency of turning a person into a sterilised commodity of the photographers and subsequently viewers gaze. I attempt to revert this property back to the people I take photographs with.
Whilst working on Nomansland, I became increasingly aware of the negative connotation that nudity has in the western society as either pornographic imagery or the unspoken truth: Something, that everybody possesses but no one dares to openly talk about. In the German language ‘genitals’ translates to ‘shame’: This man-made ’self-shame’ actively contributes to an omnipresent discomfort, a harsh judgement of others and especially oneself, based on ones bodily appearance. In many countries being nude in public even results in being a potential victim of physical or mental torture. I come to believe that forbidding and/or socially ridiculing bodily freedom leads to abrupt limitation of self-expression, resulting in more subtle, but similar torture.
Nomansland in short, searches for a hypothetical place of perfect equalisation against stereotypical judgement of qualities, which make each individual person unique. The project has additionally been inspired by the death of my grandfather in early 2017 which highly influenced my practice at the time and shaped Nomansland even more into an emotional journey, which it was for me from the very start.
Nomansland is not a finished project but only the beginning of said journey, hence I am already working on a second part (see: Projects: 'Return to Nomansland') with hopefully many more to come. After all, photography requires a lot of courage, yet it returns so much more.