For Hungarian photographer Wanda Martin, the nature of sexual fluidity and the similarities between heterosexual and homosexual relationships have become a fascination, spurred on by her own personal experiences. With time, her photographs of lovers evolved into a celebration of love par excellence, and a means of visually communicating that love does not depend on the sex or gender of the person, but only on the persons involved. Lovers offers an intensely intimate glimpse into the private moments of couples who belong to contemporary youth culture.
Currently studying towards a Master degree in Fashion Photography at the London College of Fashion, Wanda first became interested in gender studies a couple of years ago; in the photographer’s own words: “We can say that initially my motivation was to investigate myself”. The photography project inspired by this self-enquiry’s objective was to explore sexuality, love and identity.
When she first started shooting Lovers she hoped to photograph people from different backgrounds and age groups, but soon realised that this was difficult given the intimate nature of the series. This realisation made her focus instead on friends and couples close to her age; with them it was easier to achieve a more genuine depiction of their intimacy.
Lovers normalises a type of love that is often ostracised in society. By focusing on the individuals who belong to contemporary LGBT culture, the photographer believes that society might become more empathetic and consequentially more accepting. Wanda elaborates: “We think we live in a free world of equality, but then these things like what happened in Orlando still happen. It’s just shocking”. The love we see between individuals in her photographs is familiar and relatable, and helps dismantle such prejudices.
Together, the entire body of Wanda’s personal projects and fashion photography are motivated by the same themes: gender politics, sexuality, subcultures and youth culture”. Her overarching objective is to investigate “identity as construction – both sexual and subcultural identity”, and the concept of bricolage in our postmodern age. Lovers is an ongoing project, and the photographer hopes to introduce people from different age and social groups in future shoots.
All images © Wanda Martin