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Exploring Catharsis through Photography: The Intimate Artistry of Dani Lessnau

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

Surfing and researching on Internet during my relaxing time, in search of new ways of making art and using Photography I stuck on online magazine, stumble upon an artist that I didn't know before. Her name is Dani Lessnau.

What she did is fascinating. She puts a camera inside her vagina and takes photos of her lovers. I love this beautiful and extreme ideas of using your own body as a camera, mixing photography, art and body performance, gluing the camera into your vagina, like a spie hidden somewhere who want to know more about you, in a real way.

The whole body as the performer - photographer - artist. Your mind, your body and your spirit and your emotions on the same line.

© Dani Lessnau Artist
© Dani Lessnau Artist

I don't know how she did it, but it's interesting to learn more about her process.

I had a lesson on using a pinhole camera while I was attending photography school a few years ago. Using a pinhole camera requires patience, practice, and a very long exposure time. I remember going up and down in the darkroom, continuously checking if the image had been properly exposed on the piece of paper.

It was a brief experience, and I'm sure that mastering the technique could yield great results, just as Dani Lessnau did. She created tiny pinhole cameras for her series of work titled "extimité" to capture meaningful moments of intimacy with her lovers.

I never thought of such a brilliant idea, and I'm genuinely impressed that I didn't come up with it myself earlier. I say this with a positive sense of admiration.

Artists often use their art as a form of therapy, each in their unique way. Personally, I've always considered photography a therapeutic practice. Perhaps it's because I've experienced healing through my long-term photography projects.

Although I'm not entirely free from pain, I feel like I'm getting closer to a sense of liberation.

During the creative process, which can be both painful and confusing yet simultaneously enjoyable and exciting, something transformative occurs. At some point, you start feeling lighter, as if your pain is slowly dissolving, leading to a sort of inner liberation.

Photography empowers me to question everything: my identity, my thoughts, my emotions, my upbringing, society, and even religion, among other things. This journey began with the realisation of my unhelpful thought patterns and beliefs. Through intuition and a deep connection with my work, I've engaged in a process of understanding, deconstruction, and reconstruction, creating dialogues between myself and others.

This process is akin to catharsis, a term initially introduced by Aristotle in his Poetics. Catharsis involves the purification and purging of emotions, especially pity and fear, through art or any significant emotional transformation that leads to renewal and rejuvenation. Essentially, it serves as a metaphorical cleansing of the mind and soul, much like how a cathartic substance cleanses the body.

In 2017, following her recovery from a prolonged illness during her late teens and early twenties, Dani Lessnau started using photography as a means of healing and reconnecting with her body. Her work explores the ways vulnerability can be an empowering force for both herself and her subjects. It delves into the female body as a conduit for creation, both literally and metaphorically, while simultaneously examining the remarkable space that exists between individuals when they are alone, together, and exposed.

Dani Lessnau's journey and her discoveries along the way shed light on her own identity, her relationship with her body, and the profound capacity of photography to communicate ideas and emotions that may otherwise go unspoken.

For more insights, you can read the interview with Dani Lessnau on, which delves deeper into her unique artistic journey and perspectives. It's a truly thought-provoking exploration of art, vulnerability, and self-expression.

What would you do with a pinhole camera?
Would you stick in your vagina and take pictures of your lovers as she did?
How would you feel in that intimate moment?

It would be nice to know.

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