The works exhibited here are from my series of photographs Escapees from the Zoo and Occupy Wall Street, both of which were shot with a large format camera and printed on silver-gelatin paper. They offer political commentary, but humor too.
The Occupy Wall Street -series is devoted to the activists who began the movement in 2011. I spent months in all weather following the individuals who came from across the country to occupy New York´s Wall Street. The complete series consists of more than a hundred portraits that document the history of this extraordinary grass-roots political community.
In the staged photo-narratives of Escapees from the Zoo (2014-2015) my images continue to explore the themes of constraint and freedom. Initially begun as light-hearted depictions of the need to escape convention, they have taken on a darker resonance as the series has developed, in view of today´s refugee crisis. With millions of people cut off from their homes and histories, the characters - half-animal, half-human - depict the desperate pathos of their dislocation and loss.
When an animal mask is on a human body, their hybrid and burlesque qualities have a subversive power that generates "a wild indignation and a defense of an art that must be political in order to liberate us from the zoo which imprisons free spirits," as Heloise Conesa, curator for Contemporary Photography at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France wrote in her essay on Escapees from the Zoo and portraits from Occupy Wall Street that she has chosen to include in the collection of the National Library of France.
Also shown in this exhibition is my three-minute performance film Rough Cut (2015), which shows a powerful, personal transformation.
Victoria Schulz is a widely known documentary filmmaker, journalist and photographer based in New York and Paris. A native of Helsinki, Schultz began her career as a journalist in Finland, then moved to New York, where she completed a master´s degree at Columbia University School of Journalism. For many years, she reported on events in the United States and Latin America for Finnish television and radio. She also became known as a documentary filmmaker and photojournalist with groundbreaking films, such as WOMEN IN ARMS, about the leading role women played in the Nicaraguan revolution. As a filmmaker for the United Nations, she produced documentaries on issues from weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to the war in Kosovo that were broadcast worldwide. Now she is focusing primarily on photography. Selected portraits from the series Occupy Wall Street were used to illustrate Todd Gitlin´s 2015 book, Occupy Nation. In 2014 they were exhibited at the American Library in Paris.
Read more: www.victoriaschultzphotography.com