The 2022 edition of Rotterdam Photo Festival was unique – due to COVID-19 regulations the organizers couldn’t have exhibited the works of the participants selected for the 2021 edition, so they decided to combine the 2021 and 2022 editions into one big XL event. Originally planned for February 2022, eventually took place in May, also due to COVID-19 regulations.
For me the most important was that I got a chance to show my project Midsummer Sisterhood in front of the large audience in a printed form for the first time ever.
The theme of 2022 edition: “Human Blueprint” felt perfectly aligned with what I want to say through Midsummer Sisterhood: instead of seeing humanity and nature as opposittes, we should see it as one.
Because I see Midsummer Sisterhood as a dialogue rather than a monologue, it was very important for me to accompany the photos with written statements I got from women who either wanted to participate or eventually did join the photo shoot.
To invite the audience of Rotterdam Photo Festival to join the conversation I put up a wall, where they could answer questions like: “”How do you feel in your body?”, “Midsummer Sisterhood means to me:”, “Nature and we are…”, “What do you feel when you look at these photos?”
I was truly moved by some of the answers and the conversations I had with the visitors. I decided to share some of them here with you.
Text I wrote to introduce Midsummer Sisterhood to Rotterdam Photo audience:
In summer 2020, after long months of lockdown, I came up with an idea to combine celebrating the summer solstice and womanhood – I called it Midsummer Sisterhood. I put a post on social media that I’m looking for women willing to become a part of the project: pose for photos in a forest near Berlin’s city center, meet other women and have fun together. As founder of Berlin Boudoir, where I show the unfiltered raw beauty of women’s bodies, I could assure them that all ages, sizes and shapes are welcome. No experience in front of the camera was necessary. You just needed to have a black bikini and your body.
The experience and photographic outcome of that photo shoot left me in awe at how female energy, when shared, can transform and empower women. For most of the women it was a turning point in their lives – they told me how they finally stopped being ashamed of the “imperfections” in their bodies, and started celebrating the joy and pleasure our bodies bring.
That’s why I decided to repeat the experience this year, in 2021. As previously, I posted an open call on social media and got an overwhelming amount of responses. I asked in an application survey why women wanted to join. Among the responses I got were: “Because I think this project help us to accept ourselves as we are, as well as create bonds of union between us.” “The idea of connecting woman power with nature power is very exciting for me.”
I feel that we tend to think about human blueprint on the world in a negative way, and rightly so – seeing how we destroyed the natural environment. But I think it’s mostly because we forgot that we and nature are one. And that’s what I’m hoping to achieve with Midsummer Sisterhood.
Photos below by Julia Gat ©