Light Shades

This ongoing photographic project revolves around a secularized person’s encounter with religion. It also explores questions about the individual’s choices in times of planetary crisis.

– We are dead to the world when we come here. Gone. We are only for God. You can stay, but you may not photograph our faces, said the abbess. A moment’s hesitation arose. Then curiosity took over. Why do they want to hide their faces?  In a world where focus is on the induvidual and everyone shows their face everywhere who do you become when you give up your identity and become anonymous? The women live closely together in a self-sufficient, isolated world. At three o’clock every night everyone rises to participate in a mass in the chapel. There is much that arouses strong emotions and even anger. The persons I photograph are wrestling with their demons and I with mine. They speak of the devil. Is it possible that the nightly prayers maintain the balance for all of us? In the flickering glow of candles and accompanied by the sound of beautiful voices singing the stormy emotions are stilled unexpectedly, much like a small personal revelation. I think I understand something. This is a work in progress that started in 2006. Since then Johanna has visited the sisters, in Greece close to the Bulgarian border, on many occasions in search of the inner core of the project. All the pictures are documentary, however as a series, they tell a subjective story of life in a monastery as seen through the eyes of a seeking visitor. There is more to come.