The Woman Who Never Existed: Photography Project by Anja Niemi | Yellowtrace

The Woman Who Never Existed: Photography Project by Anja Niemi | Yellowtrace

The Woman Who Never Existed: Photography Project by Anja Niemi | Yellowtrace

The Woman Who Never Existed: Photography Project by Anja Niemi | Yellowtrace

The Woman Who Never Existed: Photography Project by Anja Niemi | Yellowtrace

The Woman Who Never Existed: Photography Project by Anja Niemi | Yellowtrace

The Woman Who Never Existed: Photography Project by Anja Niemi | Yellowtrace

The Woman Who Never Existed: Photography Project by Anja Niemi | Yellowtrace

 

In today’s society where image is everything, the title ‘The Woman Who Never Existed’ is an evocative one. Melancholic, romantic and ironic, Anja Niemi’s work was inspired by the sentiments of the Italian actress Eleonara Duse. Her chilling words, ‘Away from the stage I do not exist,’ promoted Niemi’s exploration into identity, status, beauty, and ultimately, worthiness.

‘The Woman Who Never Existed’ tells the story of a fictional character made real in a photographic series based on Eleonora’s words. An actress who only exists in front of an audience and for whom when no one is looking, starts to disappear.

Niemi’s heroines are juxtaposition of posturing, vanity and ultimately a deep sadness. Her subjects are fragile and beautiful. Almost as though the world they inhabit is too harsh for their ultimate existence and like clouds passing or steam evaporating, they simply disappear, their existence or lack thereof gone unchallenged or even noted.

In a world where actresses are revered to almost god like status, where glamour and beauty are so coveted, for the subject of such desire to be so seamlessly erased is both thought provoking and deeply disturbing. It is a mirror for our own lack of existence outside of the roles we have carved for ourselves. Be that of a woman who has disappeared into the role of motherhood. A man who has disappeared into the role of business executive. Or a child who has disappeared into the role of obedient offspring. Niemi reflects in her pathetic and tragic heroines our own personal existential crisis of self doubt and place in the world.

 

 


[Images © Anja Niemi.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle
Contributor

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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