9 of Dita Pepe’s Self-Portraits with Men

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Photographers don’t just have to push a button and that’s it. There’s much more to their work than we generally believe. They have to think of concepts, and messages, and compositions and atmosphere. The fact that all of us can become popular artists nowadays with the help of all sorts of applications doesn’t make us worth the boast. So let’s take a look at what a Czech female photographer, Dita Pepe has been up to lately. Here are 9 of Dita Pepe’s self-portraits with men. All the photographs from this post belong to Dita Pepe.

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Who is she?

Dita Pepe was born in 1973 in Ostrava, and belongs to a generation of Czech artists initially working under an atmosphere of intense attention from the West regarding her country’s artistic developments, just what generally happened towards other countries from the former Soviet bloc. This attention was meant to consolidate the entrance of art rising from that territory in a larger artistic circuit from which it was deprived during the forty years preceding the Velvet Revolution.

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What did she do to get where she is right now?

After moving to Germany at 19, she spent her first pay-check on a camera. Having been raised in a communist country, she became fascinated by the way Germans lived their lives and started documenting her experiences. Soon she turned the focus on herself, and that’s when the specific trait of her art started to fall into place.

“One of the main reasons I went to Germany was to get away from my dominant father whose influence on me led to my low self-esteem,” Pepe wrote via email. She went to therapy, spent time in libraries, took on a variety of odd jobs, including working as a waitress and a cleaning lady, and eventually married an older psychology student named Francesco Pepe, whom she divorced later in her life, but who had supported the beginning of her career and her goals.

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What’s Self-Portraits with Men all about?

In 2003 she got a master degree for a series of pictures connected with “the Self-portraits”. For this theme she took pictures of herself and men, as their current partner or even wife. These pictures were made in exterior with the use of artificial light. The main purpose was to capture the tie of the photographed people with their reality and their environment. This project has not been finished yet and in the course of time Dita adds new works to it. Some of te men she already knew, some she didn’t. Moreover, the little girl that sometimes appears in these photographs is Dita’s daughter. Pepe’s presence in her own photographs perfectly mingles with the details of intimacy present in the pre-existent world she enters, profile and social background of the person she is portraying, that makes us wonder about the identity of the artist herself. Dita Pepe suggests two narratives: one of going in and out of the skin of the people she portraits, and the other of the personal story of each of those people, which can be presumed through their personal objects.

“Taking self-portraits with men made me realise how different partners influence one another,” Pepe wrote.

The book about Dita Pepe

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Dita Pepe Self-portraits is the first book about her and especially about her working on this collection. It was published in 2012 and written by Vladimir Birgus. It basically portrays her as a woman of many faces, infinite faces. Daughter, granddaughter, sister, or friend of many women, wife, lover, or friend of many men, mother of many children. Chameleon. Dita Pepe has created dozens of meticulously staged self-portraits in which she changes her age, character, and social status, and adapts to the people with whom she is photographed. It’s one of the best-photographed social-documentaries of our time.

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