Maria Mantzaraki

7
Maria Mantzaraki

Portfolio

by Maria Mantzaraki (Greece)

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Portfolio from the Introspective Photography workshop with Michael Ackerman, July 2017.

Written review by CLAUDINE DOURY,
Photographer, Member of Vu' Agency and Galerie Particulière

First of all, thanks for choosing me to review your portfolio.

I looked at the 15 selected images you made on the occasion of the workshop with Michael Ackermann.

Véronique Sutra told me that, simultaneously to this series, you are working on a family of whom parents are both disabled.

I think this is interesting to work simultaneously on two series that touch you, and, even if they are different, that are close to each other and can come into resonance.

I think that working on one self is not the easiest and I think your approach is brave.

Photography allows to « navigate  » between the imaginary and reality, and this work gives access to the viewer to an inside vision. A mental state.

A perception of what one gives to see as well as what one feels inside. And thats where the strength of this work resides.

Photographing yourself in a closed environment, you underline the confinement that your body physically imposes you and against whom your mind bump into sometimes (image 15 : the confinement).

Personally, I like the shooting you did in your room (and bathroom) and those, made outside in parallel that are like altered by an element (picture 1 and picture 6).

The closed aspect on one hand and the dreamy vision that represents the exterior on another hand.

That way, picture 1 as much as picture 6 seem to be dreamed images, unreal.

Be it the reflection of your face or the foot of a statue that could be yours.

Those are strong ideas.

Inside pictures that I like are 2, 3, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16.

Picture 2 could be the one opening the series, it expresses anxiety by facing something that is off-camera. It could be followed by picture 1 that is a dreamy version. It acts as a mirror, between dream and reality. Picture 3, self-portrait in front of the bathroom mirror acts as a painful awakening, back to reality.

Picture 6, the foot of the statue, by its shooting’s angle and the stigma it carries, identical to picture 1, expresses the same violent incursion of the dreamy world, a reminder of the wound.

Picture 8 marks a break throughout the use of color and the body representation turning away from the lens.

It acts as an opposite point of view of picture 3.

No longer see oneself, to stop seeing at all!

Picture 9 is on the contrary marked by softness (resignation?).

It’s one of my favorite pictures. Picture 11 marks an opening on the world. The character lets the light comes in and turn towards the outside (towards the others?).

Picture 13 is, to my eyes, as a ballet. A desire to catch light.

Pictures 11 and 13 represent hope. Pictures that follow, 14 and 15 annihilate all hope. Picture 14, also by the choice of color (yellow monochrome) makes disappear the character that seem to melt literally.

Picture 15 where the character is covered with a  transparent plastic raincoat express suffocation and seems to be saying « I am imprisoned in my own body ».

Finally, picture 16 is a picture I like a lot because it is ambiguous.

The laid down character, dreamy, seems calmed down but also maybe meditative and it sends back to the beginning of the series in a cycle that seems endless.

All those pictures express different feelings and the closed space in which they are made reinforces the face to face with oneself.

I like less pictures 4, 5, 7, 10 and 12.

Picture 4 because it is different. It goes out of the closed space and evokes something else, the handicap face to the city.

Picture 5 because the association between the poster and the water is simply an idea, and goes out from the set where the body is confronted to space.

Picture 10 for the same reasons. Photographs that cover the body and that, I imagine, are part of its world, are an idea, not a physical confrontation, and do not allow the viewer that look at them to share it.

I would remove picture 7 because it duplicates picture 2, and its too close from picture 9 that is one of the strongest of the series.

Picture 12 is interesting because it is the only one where an outside character intervenes and breaks the isolation of the main character.

It breaks maybe also the strength of this forced closed space, or it is maybe the fact to see the face of the other that disturbs me.

The fantasy or the reminder of the other’s touch would be more dreamy without a face and would reinforce the feeling (or the sensation) of the main character.

A part from those pictures, I think your work is strong, and by tightening your editing, you succeeded in making a powerful series around self-assertion face to a resisting body.

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