Putting Words to images


This is a ghostly image, a sepia print as though faded by time. Yet the tightly cropped portrait of a dead woman is not from the distant past. It is one of a series of sobering pictures by Sandra Vitaljic of Croatia in a collection entitled Beloved. Her subjects were all victims of crimes of passion.

In the gallery space where it was displayed as part of the Savignano Immagini Festival you see the photograph in a plastic cube like it was part of a specimen for a post-mortem. It was the only picture where you could immediately identify the subject as female. It was surrounded by other shots of damaged body parts conserved after dissection.

The analytical nature of this presentation makes the photo more chilling. The photographer seems to making a spectacle of this gruesome image in a way I found discomforting. I do not know this victim or what precisely led to her violent end but somehow the picture makes me an unwilling participant in her story.