Nominated by Emmeline Yong (Co-founder and director of Objectifs, Singapore)
Shwe Wutt Hmon (born 1986) divides her time between photography and developmental work. Shwe is a freelance documentary photographer based in Yangon, Myanmar, and also works as an independent researcher for UN agencies and international organizations.
Shwe’s works focus on feminism, collective identity, human relationships, exploring mental health and telling stories of places and people that are close to her heart. She tells personal stories from which she connects and examines larger social and societal issues, using photography as her main medium.
I Do Miss Hospital Visit
Since March 2020 the first COVID 19 cases were reported in Myanmar, I’ve been mostly locked up in my apartment only with one housemate. Some days I don’t even feel like getting out of bed struggling with my back pain. The worst part of lockdown is it restricted me from seeing my physician and having regular medical check of CT scanning.
After having five operations by the age of 30 with a life long recurrent health issue, I became very interested in the connection between my own body and scars and the trajectory of health and clinical areas. Whenever I make self-portraits, the most alluring reason for me is seeing, reflecting and putting the body and scars in kind of clinical setting.
My photography work largely involves developing shot films and scanning negatives. One day while working with the scanner, I think the dots connected instinctively. I started to wonder why don’t I scan my body by myself while I can’t visit the hospital yet. It might be a silly thought. But I felt that is my self-portrait, which truly reflects and resonates me who is in need of a CT scan and always wants to examine her own body and scars from the life-long recurrent operations. By scanning together with withering flowers from my home, this experimental self-portrait series asks questions and creates metaphor of how one’s body and health would fade away and how one might find outlets out of a confined situation.
Someone said fear is often born out of ignorance and encounter with the unknown, the former can be dismissed, but the latter is inevitable. All of us share this uncertainty. Despite the world is in chaos, I am trying to be at peace. Doing this self-portrait is letting doubts and frustrations within myself to be the little light to push me through this darkness.