Olga Kirillova, Belarus
My friend died at age 57. Before she passed she asked me to look through her digital photo archive and delete nude pictures of her. On these other person’s photos I saw not only private life but also a common case of the existing hidden life which becomes a ‘shameful secret’ because of the stigma and prejudices remaining in our society. I deleted all the pictures but recreated them with myself in her place. I found the cameras which she used, clothes, asked men to pose with me. The project became about me and therefore I got my own “secret folder”.
I am also 57. I want to find peace with my changing body. Despite the fact I recreate someone else’s photos I do state that this is me. Everyone could have this kind of story. We all are imprisoned by this false shame and fear. But I can challenge this - fearlessly look through the camera. I am at all of these pictures and at the same time I am not. My body exists in many reflections just as someone else’s reflects in mine.