Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sworn Virgins by Pepa Hristova

In the north of Albania Pepa Hristova photographed the Burrnesha or so-called “Sworn Virgins” – women who, after an old ritual, adopt a male identity and take over the role of the missing family leaders. It’s an impressive story, retold by Pepa in a very human and unobtrusive way. She captured the masculine poses and bearings, the angular features on the women’s faces, revealing their complete embodiment of their male persona. Moreover Pepa portrayed individuals and the life they have chosen to live. She pictured their surrounding, their family and work, as well as their past. Portraits from family albums show how the women have changed over time, but also how Pepa has managed to create an atmosphere of trust and intimacy between the women and herself. Her images visualize the fascination and deep respect she has for this different and unknown side of Europe.