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Eden Hanna Zell

I am a fan of the short photographic career of Francesca Woodman, even citing her in my thesis as a graduate students, so I only find it natural to be drawn to the self portraits of Hungarian photographer Eden Hanna Zell. Much like Woodman, Zell's dark images overlaid with blurred movement, are mysterious, dark, and emotionally wrought with significance that can vary per viewer.

"Self-portraits are a way of self-analysis to me and express my desire for understanding.  I’m fascinated by the idea of using long exposures and capturing figures in motion, and I feel like it’s a great way to express the transience of moments and the transience of life. In some of the photos I’m almost transparent; sometimes my face is contorted by some internal struggle, and it seems that I’m between different dimensions of existence." (taken from an interview with Peculiars Magazine.)

Having worked in art purely for therapeutic purposes, I was drawn to Zell's words when she described her own experience with emotions and story telling saying, "I think that making art can be therapeutic in itself, and it can also be a huge step for being able to express your story to others. The idea of articulating mental health issues through words feels daunting to me; I’m more comfortable with expressing my emotions through visual art. Art allows me to express parts of myself that otherwise would be hidden.  Although most of my pictures are self-portraits, I don’t feel like my face is what truly matters in the pictures. My photos are more of an exploration of human emotions.  Struggling with mental health issues can often lead to the feeling that there is something wrong with you. I want to help people ease this feeling and make them feel less alone. When I feel lonely, I often find support in other people’s art, so I aim to give this kind of support to people who look at my art."

Being vulnerable, yet allowing oneself to express and articulate what words cannot, is a valuable lesson Zell has provided to us.

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