- by Kika Espejo
BEAUTY AS A SYNONYM OF STRENGTH
"My work is about the lives of women and the perspectives of the societies that define female beauty," says Izabella in relation to the themes behind her latest exhibition. "My goal has been to open discussion through various formats, including fashion, photography and documentary film. Within these visual forms, I wonder what beauty is and how we define it. I believe that beauty should be synonymous with strength, compassion and courage.”
Izabella recently returned to New York after spending a few years in her hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. Izabella came back to New York to work on her newest project, titled "Eternal Flame," a documentary film which addresses the realities experienced by women who have been victims of acid attacks in the Middle East and Persia.
The “Eternal Flame” film began as a photographic series titled "Without a Face" which took her to Pakistan to portray women survivors of acid attacks. With this project, Izabella began to achieve the difficult balance of combining the worlds fashion photography in the West and documentary photography in the East. This combination allowed her to merge her professional abilities as well as her artistic interests into one creative endeavor.
But the Swedish artist did not always know that she wanted to dedicate herself to photography and film. "I painted a lot as a child. My parents also painted, especially my father, who covered our homes with his work.” Says Izabella on her artistic beginnings, “At some point during my adolescence, I became interested in photography and, later, when I was twenty, I took a class and got hooked."
It was through photography that she was able to unleash her creativity. While she recognizes that she was not a good painter, she was obsessed with details in her paintings and this attention to detail was able to translate well into her photography and eventually her film. But the camera challenged and inspired her in ways painting never was able to. "As a painter I spent a lot of time alone, but with photography, I had to open up and start communicating with people in front of the camera. I liked how photography made me discover new aspects of my very introverted personality."
Izabella tells stories that not everyone wants to hear. She tells these stories because for her there is nothing more inspiring people triumphing in their lives despite the terrible events they have gone through. "These (stories) elevate us, make us humbler, but most importantly, they teach us never to give up. Giving these women a platform and a voice through my work is a real honor."
Her advice to new generations of photographers is to try to find a balance between commercial and personal work, since the first will always serve to finance the second. Izabella goes on to advise future generations to, "take some classes during college on how to run your own business. When you graduate, find a job assisting someone you really admire. Develop a solid commercial career and continue with it while doing your personal work. And then, of course, you need some perseverance and patience. The work of your dreams awaits you, but not around the school’s corner.”