An Autobiography of Miss Wish is a story of two closely related lives, the photographer and her "subject", working closely together to create a unique enigmatic book that pushes the boundaries of documentary narration.
The project brings together heart-rending archive footage depicting crime scenes and flashbacks, psychiatric hospital reports, diary pieces / snippets / personal notes, personal effects, letters and messages between the photographer and the protagonist: Miss Wish.
We're extremly proud to share that our Bénédicte Kurzen and Sanne De Wilde were awarded 1st prize of the World Press Photo Contest, Portrait series with their collaborative photographic project Land of Ibeji discovering the mythology of twinhood in Nigeria.
Through a visual narrative and an aesthetic language that is meant to reflect and empower the Yoruba culture that celebrates twins, Bénédicte Kurzen and Sanne De Wilde extend their gaze beyond appearance - with symmetry and resemblance as tools - to open the eyes to the twin as a mythological figure and a powerful metaphor: for the duality within a human being and the duality we experience in the world that surrounds us.
Communities have developed cultural practices in response to this high twin birth rate that vary from veneration to demonisation. In some areas, shrines are built to worship the spirit of the twin and celebrations are held in their honour. In others, twins are vilified and persecuted for their perceived role in bringing bad luck in particular to rural communities.
In Yoruba beliefs, each human has a spiritual counterpart, an unborn spirit double. In the case of twins the spiritual double has been born on earth. The friction, between communities celebrating twins and rejecting them, lies in perception of the twin as an extremely powerful spirit. Some see it as threat and as something that cannot remain on earth and has to be sent back to the heavens where it normally resides.
"The project is an invitation to look beyond identity as appearance and beyond the exoticism of the identical by calling upon a universal mythological figure: The Twin. It is an invitation for the viewer to travel back into the past and through that rediscover the present and move into the future.
We hope the ‘Ibeji’ project will inspire other creators. We would love for Nigerian artists to contribute from their perspective and expand on the project. We are very grateful for the participation and patience of the people we photographed and the time they spent with us."
Sanne De Wilde continues: "It's so special to share this together, for us this project really symbolises doing something that you often feel that you are doing alone, but we are all doing together. We want to convey a universal experience through storytelling. We also want to thank the NOOR Family and Nikon Europe in believing and supporting this challenging project and allowing us to develop this project fully."
"We would like to have a special thought tonight for a man who was very close to us, his name is Stanley Greene, and we think he would be super proud. We're very happy that a story that is conveying depth and diversity, that is shaping Nigeria, which is a beautiful country that we owe so much to - it has been my home for a very long time - is being recognised for its beauty and values. Finally, I have a special thought for all my brothers and sister from Nigeria, photographers that don't have the same opportunities and we will keep talking about them and pushing them in the world," concludes Bénédicte Kurzen.
This project was graciously supported by the Nikon Europe Ambassador program.
During each of the four-day trainings, 15 participants, together with three NOOR member photographers will share experiences, work on portfolios, improve editing skills and learn how to develop visual stories.
Participants can get the most out of the experience when they come to the workshop with a body of work they are currently developing, editing, working on and/or thinking about how to share with audiences. Thus, applicants are encouraged to include this work and indicate what they want to explore in relation to the work in their application portfolio and motivation statement.
Participants can look forward to intensive communication with NOOR photographers and their peers on subjects ranging from how to develop and edit a photographic story or project, to the nuances of the international photo market.
The NOOR-Nikon Academy is a unique opportunity to learn impactful visual storytelling, further develop personal vision, strengthen ongoing projects and gain new knowledge and contacts in an intimate and interactive environment.
Each workshop is led by a diverse and unique combination of three NOOR member photographers. All experienced teachers and lecturers, NOOR photographers are actively engaged in their own documentary practices, current debates in the field and in the development of the next generation of photographic talent.
Since 2009 NOOR and Nikon have partnered on education programs encouraging and supporting young photographic talent around the world. We have built strong collaborations with an international network of young photographers, photography professionals, cultural organizations, journalism and educational institutions. NOOR-Nikon educational programs have successfully trained more than 175 students from more than 64 different countries and counting.
Below please find the Calls for Applications for the NOOR-Nikon Academy. Calls are open to young and aspiring photographers in the respective countries where the workshops will be held: The Netherlands, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
For any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reactions from previous NOOR-Nikon educational programs:
“Photography is part education and part evolution of one’s talent. This was my first workshop and it was an enriching experience. I learned more in these days than probably I could have learned in a year working in the field.”
“The workshop was fantastic! Meeting with NOOR photographers and very talented people from our region is a great opportunity. You should continue organizing programs for regional cooperation among young photographers. I got great tips about storytelling, editing, grants and bookmaking!”