Women are the weaker sex. Women who wear short skirts ask to be raped. Women can’t run a business because they are more emotional than men ... and there are plenty of other ridiculous statements like these that still are dominating this world. But most frightening, people still base their opinions and decisions on things like this.
It shows that we as human beings are not evolved yet into a society where people get treated for who they are instead of what they are, which skin color they have or which gender they were born with.
Why is it so necessary to put everything in LITTLe boxes? Who cares that men are better at this and women are better at that. Is it so hard to accept people just for WHO THEY ARE with their strengths ÁND weaknesses without being judgemental?
Our perspectives are so narrow and black and white that we often miss out the beauty of colors that surround us. If, just only if we could see beyond these boundaries … how lovely wouldn’t that be?
Otto Peng created this series which deals with women still treated as objects throughout the world following the #metoo movement.
Photography is a great way to spread a message through pictures. What did you want to represent with this series?
Lately, I was thinking a lot about the objectification of humans and the effect this has on everybody. Men and women get objectified for different things but in this first part of the series, I focussed on the issue that women are being condemned by society for their decisions about their own appearance - if you treat someone like an object, they can as well just act like an object. The resulting, edging works show the paradox of this preposterous concept.
Would you say that abuse of power is the main reason for this issue?
I guess abuse of power contributes to almost every problem including this one. Talking about objectification, in my opinion, social media also fuels this issue a lot. Our whole life gets objectified today: we are surrounded by seemingly flawless apartments, relationships and bodies on our
social addicting networks and its unattainability transforms this urge into something very negative and creates envy striving for superiority.
How would you define equality in your perspective?
Equality means the same value or status of two entities (or more) but in my eyes in relation to past and future. You can never determine a complete value without looking at where it is coming from or where it is going to, I think.
How does photography influence your daily life? Do you think you pay more attention to detail in general?
Photography changes the way I see things and the way I see things changes my photography every day. Honestly, sometimes it´s kind of annoying because I can’t look at details or even people without framing them in my head or trying to understand how I would capture that moment to create a certain feeling in the observer of that possible picture ... I am a perfectionist - I really think you can only see the bright things if you can see its shadow.
What would’ve you become if you didn’t follow the path of photography? Or what would’ve you liked to become?
My development as an artist was or still is kind of weird so I can´t fully answer this question: I never intended to become a photographer. It kind of happened - I stumbled into working in the porn industry as an assistant and after some time I got kind of bored. I discovered my fascination for the hidden relations between the people and things on set most of the time contrasting what the consumers would see. And photography was simply the best way to capture those moments. This taught me a very weird approach to taking photos and valuable lesson in photography and life in general: look further, then what you see at first glance and you will find something truly unique.
What’s your motto in life?
I am not really following a certain mantra but sometimes I use the phrase: It’s a hard knock life - if you are lucky!
How do you choose your models and what is a must-have every model should have?
It´s pretty straightforward: when I see or meet somebody, I usually feel immediately if I want to take a special photo with them and which scenario would fascinate me. So then I simply ask, if they would be interested as well and start to talk about my mostly grotesque ideas. Generally, I like to explore the unknown of a character with the character itself. Which is why I usually don´t work with professional models and only agree to do so, if I have the feeling I am able to push them into a state of mind far away from their usual mask.
I’m looking for something weird but real; something edgy but self-confident. I think, that the power of a portrait lies within that second, where the portrayed opens up and allows you to understand a certain, intimate thought or characteristic of him- or herself – a good portrait is a gift from your model and you have to treat it like that to create something unique and authentic.