Invisible lives, 2021.

Analog and digital photography, 120x150cm

What does the invisible world look like? How to move in the world of those who see? How to find and create your place under the sun, enjoy your microcosm, be free and equal? Is it possible to visualize the world around you? Are human rights the same for everyone and are we "allowed" to be different? What do invisible people and their lives look like? What are prejudices and what is respect for diversity? These are just some of the issues I dealt with in the work "Invisible Lives" and thus drew attention to the position and lives of this minority group of our fellow citizens, blind and partially sighted people, pointed out their social, economic and physical barriers. After many years of working with people who are damaged in various ways and thus marginalized in society, he began working with fellow citizens who live invisible lives. The life as it is known to us who see it is less or not at all visible to this minority group of citizens. On the other hand, the life led by visually impaired and blind citizens is mostly invisible to "seeing" fellow citizens. It can be concluded that citizens who "see" do not actually see, they are occupied with their niches and conformism.

In addition to the basic starting points of the topic, research goals and methodological framework, a research was conducted that resulted in a series of portraits of the inhabitants of the city of Cesis (within the international workshop Rucka Residency). Using Sander's or Rineke's model / approach in photography in which the protagonists sit or stand and look directly at the "camera", and by putting the complete story in a certain context "Invisible Lives" in this work, they get their name and surname. What distinguishes this work from the above is that we do not see the faces of the portrayed persons. A person who has spent his entire life in some kind of isolation and invisibility continues to do so in my photographs. By covering our faces, standing directly and calmly towards the camera, we suggest the position of these people in society. Their lives are mostly invisible to people who do not have similar disabilities, to the "seeing" part of the population. Their status in society is like an exhibit we pass by, which is especially felt in the photos in which they stand.

As the leitmotif of this series, I use a mirror and place it directly over the portrait (as in previous works, I use a symbolic prop). The power that a mirror certainly has is to turn the invisible into the visible. The mirror allows us to see only what we cannot see with our own eyes. The mirror gives us a reflection of our identity, so we create a part of the image of ourselves, it gives us the opportunity to see ourselves from another angle. The mirror reflects the results of thoughts and actions of internal processes. This mirror is not only made of glass, but it is made of people, the environment, the body ... It shows the purity of the soul, the content of the heart, beauty. That symbol of sight that helps us see the invisible through which we seek the unfulfilled from life. In the end, the mirror is a symbol of emptiness and an indicator of a painful life experience.

The symbolism of mirrors in this paper is multiple. These are psychological portraits whose mirrors reflect a life story and decades of experience, which indicate their peculiarities, specific quality and values of life. The image drawn in the mirror is a very important detail in the lives of these people. It is their worldview, it is their thoughts, fantasies, important life moments. Each portrait is at the same time a powerful story. This is also a universal story and concerns all visually impaired or blind people.

Several conclusions were reached during the research. One refers to the ability of portraits to fit independently into the specific theme within which they are processed. This is one of the options, depending on the space in which you would exhibit. However, there is another option, and that is for the portraits to be part of a certain context, despite their expressiveness and interesting use of props. To avoid a narrative in the style of a classic photojournalist essay involving unambiguous narrative contextualization of photographic content by commentators (often the author himself), I would choose to use other types of material that include documentary photography, video, short narrative comments on their specificity, poetry and local music. author, audio narratives, GPS waypoints and QR code through which viewers get all the necessary information about this person. In this way, the main - purely photographic corpus of the portrait is supported by various means, textual and photographic fragments that contextualize it in an open, exciting and ambiguous way.

Their mutual opposition in the content, form and language of direct and indirect messages opens a wide field of interpretation, but completes the specific framework of the main topic. This openness contributed to the objectivist impression of the work precisely through the lack of an explicitly expressed critical attitude towards the position of these persons in society. On the other hand, the emotional charge that the work contains, then the sound life stories of the photographed, should lead the viewer to enjoy and build a relationship with the topic.