Top Pick Edition365 2022 – Marcin T. Jozefiak explores identity, body positivity, and the pressures of conservative societies
Marcin T. Jozefiak’s images have been selected as Top Picks for Edition365 2022, culminating in an immersive virtual exhibition of works documenting the events between 1st October 2021 and 30th September 2022. Digital doors opening May 19th. Follow this space for upcoming announcements.
Photographer Marcin T. Jozefiak’s project, “Fearless Flowers,” is a stunning collection of portraits that explore identity, body positivity, and the pressures of conservative societies. Shot on film and digitalised from prints or negatives, Jozefiak’s project was photographed over two years with 23 participants. Adorned with flowers, the human body represents universal innocence, timelessness, and purity, while black garments symbolise the struggle of each subject against societal pressure. The project captures a raw and beautiful expression of liberation, and Jozefiak’s role as the bridge between his subjects and viewers allows for meaningful conversation and exploration of the unnoticed beauty within us all.
“Adorned with flowers, the human body represents universal innocence, timelessness, and purity. The subject, who may convey toughness in other settings, is shown with vulnerability and humanity when photographed in a safe studio environment.”
We interviewed Jozefiak to find out about his current projects as well as his views on selling art using blockchain technology.
ART3: What inspired the concept behind your photographs?
MTJ: The photos I take for my personal work mainly come from my curiosity to explore the topic of identity. Although I’ve lived in Seoul for over five years, I’ve visited here a few times before, and I always approach it with curiosity, observing and analyzing my surroundings. The “Fearless Flowers” series and book attempt to capture open-mindedness: acceptance of your body and sexuality and welcoming the self-created modern image of who Korean people aspire to truly be.
I developed a curiosity about Korean culture and traditions, which led me to explore the perspectives of Korean individuals about their lives. As I engaged in conversations with various participants, I was exposed to unique viewpoints and became a keen listener of their diverse stories and perspectives. My inspiration often comes from the people I encounter or actively seek out, and every person I photograph leaves me in admiration of the beauty of the human form.
Before the pandemic hit, I worked on my first solo show in Seoul called “Not for Everyone.” This project sparked my interest in diversity and subcultures in this fast-paced city. I photographed each person in an outdoor location that held significance for them and in a studio setting. At the exhibition, some visitors had never encountered someone openly gay, trans, tattooed, a drag queen, or open-minded about their body. Noticing that some live their life never noticing one another and my audience’s response motivated me to dive in even deeper and continue my exploration, which led to creating my “Fearless Flowers” project and book. Creativity is crucial in challenging society’s preconceived notions and questioning their significance.
Raising awareness can change people’s perceptions of what they fear, and that’s what I hope to achieve through my work.
ART3: What technical process do you follow for your work?
MTJ: The “Fearless Flowers” project and most of my work are shot on film and digitalized from prints or negatives. When I started my process on this project, I didn’t think about how many people I would like to meet and photograph, but I knew I wanted to release it in a physical form of a book. Which I had the pleasure to release during this year’s Rotterdam Photo Festival. The “Fearless Flowers” is currently available as a Limited Signed on my website here.
The second part of the project is the moving image footage shot with the super8 film camera. The conversations were recorded and are currently being written into a script for a short film using a super8 film footage shot during each photo shoot with the models at my studio.
A teaser is currently available to watch on my Instagram or website.
ART3: How does the location or setting influence your final images?
MTJ: The project was photographed over two years with 23 participants in a safe studio environment where each can feel accepted and free to express themselves.
The project studies one’s relationship with their own body and inner struggle with the image pressured by a conservative society, where certain beliefs and outdated standards are forces on the rapidly changing nation.
With the subtle posing and movement tailored to each person based on the previous conversation, I aimed to reflect a more sophisticated look into the participant’s character.
ART3: Were they located in the same place and if not, why not?
MTJ: The project was entirely produced in my studio with the set design I created for each participant.
Adorned with flowers, the human body represents universal innocence, timelessness, and purity. The subject, who may convey toughness in other settings, is shown with vulnerability and humanity when photographed in a safe studio environment.
Ornamented with flowers, the black garment, which represents the society uniform, is a metaphor for the fight and struggle of each subject and beyond.
ART3: Can you share any behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the photoshoots?
MTJ: Since most of the shoots were personal and emotional for each participant and me, I tried to make them a smooth and well-prepared experience. Some of the conversations are available to read here.
ART3: How do you feel your cultural background has influenced your art?
MTJ: As an outsider, I’ve had the privilege to be introduced inside this personal expression of liberation, looking for meaning and the beauty and identity, all while capturing the landscape of self-invented people: a true walking work of art.
My role was never to judge and search for answers but rather to be the spark which starts a conversation. As a foreigner living outside of the Western culture, understanding and, most importantly, wanting to explore the basics of Korean culture, you know you’re in no position to critique. Therefore, with my work, I am the bridge between my subject and whoever is looking and trying to discover and capture their unnoticed beauty.
ART3: How do you think blockchain technology has impacted the art world and your work as an artist?
MTJ: Blockchain technology has become a very disruptive way to sell your work as an artist. It broadens the format and the approach to the art, and it’s confusing but also gives a straightforward and accessible way for artists to sell their work. Certainly, helped the creators to protect the copyrights of their work. It was an exciting experience for me to be part of several collaborations with various platforms, but I’m still trying to find the right and more meaningful way to use this technology as a format for my work.
Marcin T. Jozefiak’s images have been selected as Top Picks for Edition365 2022, culminating in an immersive virtual exhibition of works documenting the events between 1st October 2021 and 30th September 2022. Digital doors open May 19th.
Follow this space for upcoming announcements.