Straight away itís obvious that something strange is going on in these photographs. The women are all invisible in some way. Not only are their faces hidden behind a mask of make up or even metal but they also seem curiously absent in spirit They donít so much represent a certain person as the embodiment of a thought, or rather, a feeling. It looks as if these beautifully dressed women are held back by something. Perhaps itís their Ďstate of soulí which prevents them from stepping out, perhaps to go to a party where they would undoubtedly shine, or perhaps itís a growing aversion against a culture of chasing after fun from which it becomes increasingly difficult to escape. Where can we go without wearing even the most discreet of masks? Perhaps this is what these photographs convey.
The women are set in surroundings which show a striking transparency within the enclosed space. Everywhere in the image we see more than we might expect. Reflections and vistas combine to show the whole of the surroundings. This makes the feeling of restriction even more poignant. In spite of the enclosed, or rather, inprisoned feel of the images, they do show the outside world. The protagonists donít seem to want to step into this world, let alone conquer it. Some show signs of an inner struggle, such as the girl in the pink dress who bites her nails and clenches her fist at the same time. One girl, although beautifully dressed in what seems to be traditional costume, seems resigned as she lies down on a bed in a bleak little room. The most harrowing picture is surely the one showing a woman, strands of hair crossing her face, effectively blotting it out. The blue suit underlines the almost unearthly look of this presence.
Daanís photographs, beautiful though they are, are certainly not meant to be only aesthetically pleasing. Daan is a storyteller who doesnít hesitate to ask questions, neither does she give us the whole story. She leaves us enough space to come up with our own thoughts and associations.
Wendelien Daan (1965) studied Fashiondesign at the Academy of Art in Arnhem. She uses both fashion and photography in her work. Daanís worked for Vogue, The Face, Dutch, Surface, America and Citizen K.
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