Great Shot: Izabella Demavlys

Saira © Izabella Demavlys

In 2009, Izabella left her job as a fashion photographer and departed to Pakistan in order to pursue her calling of shooting in a more documentary style. Her reasoning for the switch in motivation is quite simple. In an interview she did with Camera Obscura, Izabella explained that "After years of struggling and trying to find my voice within fashion, I suddenly realized that it was not my calling. My fashion work couldn't engage the viewers in any way. It was not changing any perspectives or behaviors, inspiring or making any meaningful points." I completely relate with Izabella's need to communicate with and move the viewer through her images, it's a concept I've been grappling with the past two years at MIAD. Unfortunately for me, my geographical situation limits my subject matter. Izabella's choice to visit Pakistan shows the dedication and drive to pursue her documentary calling.

In Pakistan, Izabella started a series titled "Without a Face." This series documents women who have been victims of acid and kerosene burns as results of being attacked. The images, albeit grotesque and shocking at first, abound with a certain inner beauty and a quiet dignity. On her web-site, Izabella elaborates that the intention of this series is ". . . to follow these women through a couple of years while they not only rebuild their faces through surgery but also build the courage, hope, acceptance and self-esteem to continue living a life with a disfigured face."

Not only is Izabella Demavlys' imagery beautiful and meaningful but it also brings to light social issues. Many viewers, such as myself, may have had no inclination of these horrific attacks taking place until seeing Izabella's images and reading of the women's stories. These photographs offer the subject a way of telling her story with the hope of sparking a greater social change.

More work by Izabella Demavlys as well as information on a proposed Acid Crime Prevention Bill in Pakistani legislation can be found on her website, www.izabellademavlys.com.

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