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Maps of Grief

As an artist, I feel called upon to explore the depths of human emotion and to find beauty even in life’s most difficult moments. In modern society, run on a positivity fuel, we are often encouraged to approach life with an optimistic outlook. But what about the times when things are tough? The times when we experience grief, loss, and pain? I have always been drawn to subjects often seen as taboo or off-limits. In my photography, I aim to show the reality of life – the good and the bad – without censorship or judgment. Nothing is ever black or white; our reality takes on all undistinctive hues with many subtle nuances. I want to fully honor my heroes/heroines’ story – their truth – without pushing it into a narrow box of “feel good.” I believe that by approaching complex themes with honesty and openness, we can normalize them and help people experiencing them feel less alone. In my “Maps of Grief” series, I explore the subject of grief in all its forms.  Capturing the full spectrum of emotions that come with grief, I believe we honor everyone’s unique approach to sorrow as a moment in their life and consequently can help break down the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding it. 

My idea for each portrait was an intuitive co-creation with nature and with the person I was photographing, who was free to convey their emotions around grief in whatever way arose in them. To let their body guide them in the form of expressive movement. It never ceases to surprise me how perfectly each was a match to a particular emotion.
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Angelika Kollin

Angelika Kollin (b. 1976) is an Estonian Fine Art/Documentary photographer currently residing in Tampa, USA. She is self-taught and engages with her passion for photography and art as a tool of exploration of interhuman connections and intimacy. The direction of her work is driven by the lifelong yearning to understand and gain a deeper perspective on human loneliness and suffering, as well as the role faith plays in overcoming it. Angelika's work's honesty and unapologetic directness is caringly softened by the aura of intimate emotions and gracious dignity. She has spent eight years living in African countries (Ghana, Namibia, and South Africa), where she explored the same topics in various cultures and economic conditions. It strengthened her belief that despite many circumstances in life, the one thing that shapes us the most is our relationship with our parents. Through intense artistic evolution, she has arrived at her current and ongoing projects - You Are My Mother/Father and the Song of Psalms. Angelika's work has been recognized by Lensculture (1 prize winner, 2020/finalist, 2022), BIFA (1st Place, 2021), Lucie Foundation (finalist, 2020), and PHMuseum (finalist, 2020), among others. Her work has been exhibited at Helsinki Foto festival, Lensculture group exhibition in New York, Cape Town (solo), OFF Foto Festival in Bratislava, FotoNostrum gallery in Barcelona, and The International Photographer group exhibition in Berlin.

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