Documentary “Like a coat of rain”, coming in 2018
An inhuman ritual. Generations of photographers were trying to help. Between fame and compassion. The question of ethics in photojournalism and society.
The Finnish photographer Meeri Koutaniemi has received for her project “Taken” numerous awards, including the FreeLens Award and the Visa d’or Daily Press Award. She has taken with her camera a terrible issue, female genital mutilation, an ancient ritual involving young girls. However, she is not the first to take care of this issue.
Spanish photographer Kim Manresa has photographed genital mutilation since more than 10 years. He took pictures of a girl, which he adopted later on. As a multimedia producer several thoughts went through my mind after getting aware of the story told by the skandinavian photographer. I want to ask the following questions looking for answers:
– What is photojournalism good for ?
– Does it bring any change in society ?
– Does a possible change in the mindset of the people depend on their culture ?
– Is the work on a project that is so marked by personal suffering, something a photographer can prepare for emotionally?
– How much is a photographer strained by the personal fate of a child and how far can personal involvement go?
– Why do certain subjects in international photojournalism repeat cyclically?
– Is the current photojournalism a way that allows dedicated reporters to stand up for human rights or merely the result of a media circus, looking for young artists who are willing to represent the horrors of the world for a nice exhibition?
In the third part of my multimedia series called “Breaking the Silence” I want to pursue these questions. I want to interview the protagonists and tell their stories. The stories of the photographers and the depicted persons, if it’s possible. I want to do not only interviews with photographers but also with people who can tell me something about the meaning of these pictures for the society. I want to talk with a doctor who specializes in vaginal reconstruction and I am looking for interesting contacts in the fields of photography and culture.
Breaking the Silence is the journey of a search to recognize and explore the forbidden spaces of the unknown: The existence of people who, parting from anonymity and suffering, sustain and bear the world. My first multimedia story, called „A short story of Huntington’s chorea“ is about the family, the silence and a terrible taboo. It’s about the degenerative genetic disease Huntington.
My second story is about the end of life and about living with a family member who has lost awareness about her own existence. The story is called „The chest of memory“, an intimate and personal history about Alzheimer.
With my new project, I hope to encourage the viewer of my multimedia project to think about a horrible theme, as it is the circumcision of the clitoris in children. At the same time I want to question the meaning and functioning of photography in the world today. I’m interested in the ethical aspects of this issue. I am concerned with the question of personal participation, voyeurism in society and the fame of the artist.