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IN/VISIBLE is a long-term project on women who have survived fire and acid attacks or self-immolation in Bangladesh, Uganda, Cambodia, Pakistan, Nepal and India. These women are visibly disfigured and have become invisible to their society, ostracized by their communities. Corruption, a weak rule of law and a culturally rooted discrimination against women are a fertile breeding ground for such attacks and self-immolation attempts. Common motives are jealousy, spurned love, infidelity, disputes over dowry or land. The 48 women I visited and portrayed are just a few of the many that are attacked with acid or fire to purposely disfigure or kill them. Officially there are around 1500 acid attacks reported worldwide every year. The majority of which are women. The number of unreported cases is estimated to be much higher. While many culprits walk free, the survivors of the acid or fire attacks suffer lifelong physical and emotional pain. I wanted to capture the beauty and self-confidence hidden behind the disfiguring scars of these women and I want to make them visible to society once again. The portrait had the intention to give the women the opportunity to present themselves as individuals beyond the collective stigma of being branded; The neutral black backdrop was supposed to abstract from the social environment. A framework, in which they felt able to present themselves and pose as they felt right. Those portraits are about the struggle of these women and about their heroic strength. It is about them as being seen as survivors rather then as victims of their fate.
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