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1.I met Abdul with his ballerina dress. Extract from 'I am Your Mirror' photography project

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

Extract from 'I am your Mirror' photography book by Loredana Denicola

I put an advert on Internet and Abdul sent me an email, telling me that he was interested to take part in my photography project called "I am your Mirror".

I wanted to photograph myself and twelve strangers that I would find through the Internet. These strangers, unpaid, would be free to choose a time and place to be photographed.

I am your mirror - ballerina
Abdul, like Jane Fonda | I am your Mirror | © Loredana Denicola

He decided to meet me in Spitalfields market to introduce ourselves. He wanted to know me. I remember his tiny figure approaching me, so fragile and with a very sweet voice. He told me that his dream was to dress up like a ballerina and be lifted up from his leotard by a strong dominant wrestling woman. I tried to look for a wrestling dominant woman in London, I went to wrestling gyms but I couldn’t find her. He was disappointed.

We talked about his life. He was studying in London, at that time. He said he had a pink ballerina dress and a yellow and black leotard. I remember that day so vividly. He came to visit me, getting in my flat with a big black plastic bag, full of colourful clothes, bought from Chinese shops. We couldn't use his flat, so we had to use my communal garden, which is situated downstairs, where I live.

His wife knows nothing about his dreams, she won't understand his dreams, sometimes he likes dressing up, at night, when she sleeps, playing alone in front of a mirror and taking selfies of himself, in the mirror. I am fascinated by the fact that even now, we have to put masks on with the closest people in our life (wife, husband, friends, brother, sister...) because afraid of judgements or rejections and we don't have the courage to be who we are. I did so many times with my parents, when I was a teenager.

I had to lie to be accepted because they were no liking the truth, who I was. And I kept going like this for many years, wearing a mask that wasn't mine and acting how they wanted me to be, but deep inside, I wasn't happy.

I choose to work with strangers, because it can be easier to be unguarded with a stranger and it doesn’t imply any emotional levels of attachment as possession as often it manifests in relation.
Meeting a stranger without knowing what will happen can be a frightening experience as well as enlightening one ....

I didn’t plan the photoshoot with Abdul, I wanted everything to be spontaneous, I wanted to play with him, like two children. I used an old 35mm camera with a black and white film, that I borrowed from a friend ....

At the end, I realized that, with a planned photoshoot all would have been amazing! More fashionable as well.

Those pieces of clothes that he brought with him, in a black plastic rubbish bag, were very colourful and colour film or transparency would have been perfect for the situation. But I wanted to photograph strangers in the present moment and the present moment is only one!

I needed only one important ingredient, human connection.

He is Muslim, married, with children, he loves Jane Fonda and he wanted to be dominated ....

... to be continued ...

by Loredana Denicola

A layout of the book is ready (256 pgg, text & black and white pictures). Hopefully the book will soon be available. Limited Edition. I am looking for funding.

'How I met my strangers', I am your Mirror' photography project .

©Loredana Denicola 2017/2018, All right reserved.

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