alchemic research of Fashion, Photography, and Social Therapy.
“In June 2007, I gave a photo workshop to the patients of Merimetsa Rehabilitation Center and was delighted to discover the enthusiasm and intensity with which the participants expressed their photographic language. As soon as I distributed the throwaway cameras, they ran off with them like happy children to photograph their desires, memories, thoughts, fears, and anything else which stimulated their senses. The results from the first day were stunning and revealing. There were photographs of abandoned buildings, other buildings where personal events took place, there was an enigmatic white cat, a tree with a cancerous tumor, mysterious shadows, empty spaces, lonesome animals, etc. The workshop lasted 3 days and I worked as closely as the patients would allow me in order to link bits and pieces of their intimate stories into a coherent photographic series.
Their work was later exhibited inside the rehabilitation center. This final presentation gave the patients another way of seeing their own work and helped some of them to come closer to the uncertain visions of their world. Some of them gave titles to their series which had clouded meanings or simply honest titles that popped up in their heads. "Coming and going, waiting in between", "Animals and people at the psychiatirc clinic", "Live action", "God's creatures at work" were among the few titles given. During this exchange, I, in turn, photographed some of the patients with my old wooden 8x10 camera. These portraits were then shown in a gallery in downtown Tallinn and there once again, the patients saw themselves existing not only through their own photographs but also through the photographs of an "outsider" or "visitor".
Whether or not there were "true" stories linked to the photographs made by the patients, one thing was clear and evident. The process of creativity and highly imaginative minds were at work here. From this experience, I am more convinced than ever that following our creative intuition is the best guide to reaching the unexplainable and mysterious workings of our inner being. The photographs presented here are glimpses and revelations of our human complexities. They hold the keys to our past, present and future. Though these photographs were made by a specific person or persons, they are also open to each viewer's imaginative and personal interpretation.
- Diana Lui
Color photographs made by: Jane, Katrin, Meedi, Meelis, and the others who wish not to be mentioned
Many thanks to the people at Merimetsa Rehabilitation Center, French Cultural Institute of Tallinn, HOP Gallery, Otto von Busch and Sirja-Liisa Vahtra for their precious help in making this project possible