A nurse, a food delivery girl, a saleswoman, a teacher, a postwoman, a policewoman, a firefighter, a cleaner, a production worker, a chauffeur – but also a mother, daughter, sister, housewife, a lover of sports, books, flowers, motorbikes… All these are the faces of female portraitists who they were shot by a photographer and visual artist Mankica Kranjec at the exhibition Overlooked in the Photo Gallery and reminded that the labor force, which is often not even noticed, has names, faces, its own lives and desires, similar to all of us.
Dispatch service of the health care, it says on the patch of her T-shirt, but when we change the perspective just a little, the face of a woman is shown in her home environment, with a book in her hands. This woman is Breda Lozar from Frankolovo. A nurse who works as a dispatcher at the number 112 is one of those important people in our lives whose face we usually don’t see and we don’t even think that, like everyone else, she has her own life and many roles. The story, told in the way we often heard it during the strict pandemic measures, is still relevant, in fact it is always relevant, says Mankica Kranjec at the exhibition, which opened last night and will be on view until February 11.
Multi-layering in the lenticular technique
The faces of ten women in professions, which we need most in times of crisis and at the same time we cannot imagine everyday life without them, even in peaceful times, are presented in ten stories, where the author shows the multifaceted nature of the portraits not only through narration, but also through a special lenticular technique , in which the image changes according to the movement of the observer. In each portrait, two photos are combined, although the observer seems to see many more changing before his eyes, which was also the photographer’s goal: to show the many roles we have in life, not only in public and private relationships, but also everything in between. “In life, we constantly switch between roles, we are workers at work, housewives at home, lovers of reading and crocheting in our free time…” Mankica Kranjec said, and this transition was made possible by a technique that is still quite unknown in our country.
Mankica Kranjec got in touch with the portrait girls with an appeal on Facebook and the response was great. PHOTO: Voranc Vogel/Delo
There are many professions that are very important in our everyday life; the author’s choice (and necessary limitation) was based on those days during the pandemic, when many residents had to stay at home, but at the same time there were people who went to work regardless of the conditions and all the uncertainty that plagued society at the time . “They were and still are there for us all the time, when we need them, but at the same time we don’t see them, so I wanted to present them,” she described her starting point.
She got in touch with the portrait subjects with a request on Facebook and, as she added, the response was really great. When choosing, she paid attention to the fact that the women are of different ages, from different social and religious backgrounds and from different parts of Slovenia, and only after meeting them in their work environment and in their homes did she realize the multifaceted nature of their personalities and roles. She wanted to introduce all the portraits by name, tell how old they are, where they come from – all this is information that is overlooked when performing their profession.
She didn’t want to single out any of them during the conversation, for a simple reason: because she doesn’t want to miss any of them either. “I am very happy that they welcomed me into their homes and I am grateful that they trusted me. Everyone is a hero who deserves to be seen,” she said while setting up the exhibition on Saturday together with “her team” – her mother Victoria and partners To Kevin – and with advice Barbara Čeferin from the aforementioned gallery.
Much more than meets the eye
She also described all the portraits in the catalog, which was published at the time of the exhibition, and further highlighted the everydayness of each of them, on the one hand, and the uniqueness of each of them, on the other. “The portrait woman we see in the picture is interesting and charming. It is much more than meets the eye. She is a worker, but at the same time she is also a mother, she is a sister, she is an aunt and she is a daughter,” she wrote in the introduction.
Suzano Anžur, one of the two professional firemen in Slovenia, many kindergarten children from Ljubljana would probably recognize her. A man of action, as the 38-year-old describes himself, is always on the go – on work tours and at home. He has little free time, and even that he devotes to fellow human beings. Five years ago, she and her puppy became members of the Slovenian Society for Animal-Assisted Therapy – Smile Ambassadors, we learn about the smiling woman from the photo.
The exhibition will be on view in the Fotografija Gallery for three weeks, after which the author wants to travel around Slovenia and maybe grow into something bigger. PHOTO: Voranc Vogel/Delo
Matej Bric she is a saleswoman from Litija. Year 1974, with 30 years of service. She likes everything about her profession, from contact with people to purchasing and stacking items on the shelves, said Mankica Kranjec. But sometimes she feels overlooked. “That’s why I wish people would be a little more considerate, and I believe that our profession should be talked about more.” The mother of three sons likes to cook, bake and relax in the garden.
It’s a postwoman’s face Polona Cerar, born in 1988, from Črnomlje. She likes field work, she feels particularly rewarded when she sees the sparkles in the eyes of older people, says the always smiling young woman. And yet, in the underappreciated profession of a letter carrier, she often feels overlooked, as she notes. When he takes off his uniform, he “does everything and nothing”; she helps on the farm, goes for walks with her dogs… Driving a motorcycle gives her an immense sense of freedom, including with the Divja Jaga Moto Club, as the letter carrier from Črnomlje reveals herself layer by layer.
When it’s Majda Nagode from Pivka in uniform, heads one of the busiest police stations in Slovenia, the Ljubljana Center station. He has less free time, but he still manages to organize it by training and performing with the Facemame dance group. She is a mother, a sports fan, an amateur gardener…
From the crowd of food delivery people, who are recognized by their big blue square backpacks, but whose faces we rarely look at, the author of the exhibition invited them to participate Aleksandra Došenović from Ljubljana. And a teacher Here is Jekovec from Kranj, a truck driver Metko Končar from Polšnik, the already mentioned nurse and medical dispatcher in the 112 center Breda Lozar from Frankolovo, cleaner Branko Leš from Šentilje and a factory worker Brigita Škafar from Radomelj. Her work in three shifts is tiring but beautiful, said the 42-year-old machine operator in Tosama. When she’s at home, she’s a mother, a partner, a homemaker, a music lover, a daughter, a sister who wants her to be healthy and continue to have a job and a roof over her head…
Warning yellow color
“We often glorify the stories of important personalities, but every person, regardless of race, nationality, profession, is something special. This exhibition wants to show exactly how important every human story is,” concluded Mankica Kranjec. She reminded of the uniqueness of each portrayed woman with another visual element – with a warning yellow color that calls attention and reminds the visitors of the exhibition to stop and think about how often they overlook the people they actually meet every day.
The exhibition will be on display at the Photo Gallery for only three weeks, after which the author wants to travel around Slovenia and maybe grow into something bigger: “Ten is just the beginning,” she laughed. And another question that many have already asked her: Why (only) women? “People, regardless of their gender, are important, as are their roles and their professions. But since I am also a woman and, like many others, I fulfill many roles in my life, I thought it was right to pay attention to women and put them on the pedestal they deserve. Last but not least, women tend to be paid less than their male colleagues, even if they do the same work, which certainly needs to be pointed out.”
Mankica Kranjec participated in many group exhibitions and prepared many solo exhibitions. Among the latter, three years ago, she was resounding Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, in which she depicted the Prekmurje of her grandfather, the writer Miško Kranjec. Her last solo exhibition was during the pandemic in the Tam-Tam street gallery with the title A heart for every day.