Dzina Danilovich «Down To…» +18 (9-23.10)


 “It’s simple. I offer the participants to strip down to the extent they see as comfortable for themselves, keeping in mind that their photos will be exposed in a public space, I shoot a video of them getting undressed and then make a final shot where they pose nude/partially nude … “

Photography, videoю Dzina Danilovich

Dzina Danilovich’s project “Down To …” is a “portrait story” that captures “taboos associated with male nudity, shame and self-censorship that reveals people’s attitude to their own body”. This set of images helps the participants (as much as the author of the project) master the space and the situation where they do not feel confident, and the process of photographing turns into “a social ritual, protection against anxiety and a tool of self-affirmation” [S. Sontag]. Photographs and videos become a way of identification and representation (especially in the texts the participants add to the images) of social and personal stereotypes, in a diffuse zone between the private and the public.

So, to which point can a person, feeling one’s inner freedom and being in a comfortable emotional state, strip down? In this case, nudity is a factor of trust, the result of interaction with the photographer, a self-directed gesture/act, and at the same time – a manifestation of one’s personal message.

This game/process turns into a space of dialogue not only between the model and the author, but also with the viewer. The portrayed person perceives the photographer’s role as a window into publicity, a direct screen. Does it mean that the intimate interaction between the photographer and the model is no longer there? That the body is no longer the photographer’s way of speaking, and the camera is not “a way of intervention”. Not really, because “to photograph a person means to commit some violence against them: to see them as they never see themselves, to learn about them something they did not know, that is to turn them into an object that can be symbolically possessed”. The role of the viewer is identical to the image of the observer who is watching the action unfold, the action that has already taken place and has certain anticipated and actual results.

Thus, there is a predetermined framework where each participant acts by virtue of their interests and their perception of tasks. And this also holds true for the viewer …

Olga Rybchinskaya

Project presented as part of “Be a Lady” exhibition