Samuel Petras is 17 year old photographer based in Slovakia. He used this series to connect with his audience with his imagery, touching on topics of feeling targeted, judged and ultimately overcoming and uplifting one another to a place of power. Stating that he wanted his images to feel almost “surreal” in their appearance, blurring the line between reality and the subconscious experiences of mental anguish one may feel after experiencing some form of psychological or physical abuse.
Samuel uses a number of common themes throughout this series to provoke the audience into deeper conversation, using elements such as bronze paint or an orange tie, both carrying symbolic meanings. He uses an orange border to remind us that this, unfortunately, is a repetitive cycle, starting at any point in this series, it can evolve into something more positive, or regress into something more sinister in nature. This also suggests that anyone, at any time, can be victim to this.
We approach this series, first, by identifying the woman with a bronze circle painted on her back, representing a target, as the arms in the foreground point to it. This can be perceived both literally and metaphorically. It asks the viewer to interpret for themselves; why does this woman have a target on her back, is this because she feels as though she has been targeted, and if so why? Or has she actually been targeted, as the two arms point to her, almost singling her out.
The next image shows three hands tied together with an orange tie. This feels like a somewhat obvious statement; these feminine hands are physically bound by a tie, something typically associated with masculine identity. The binding force felt with the tie promotes Samuel’s need to invoke a more surreal experience to this series, which can also ring true for his next image depicting a woman with a noose around her neck. These images are also more reflective of a conceptual dialogue; considering how women feel bound by their experiences of trauma, or look desperately for any form of release.
While it is typically assumed that women experiencing these forms of violence in their lives, are oppressed by men, symbolized by the tie featured in many of the images in this series, the next image dictates an alternative narrative, suggesting that it is sometimes women that contribute to the violence on other women. The woman in the forefront of this image cowers and hides herself from the women in the background of this image. This woman feels vulnerable, afraid of these women, afraid of being judged by her experiences.
We then move to a place of support and power. We see two women in the centre of the frame, one leaning on the other, clasping onto each other's hands, bronze paint on them. They appear to be supporting one another, embracing each other for who they are and where their lives have taken them. Their hands appear to signify strength, their union symbolic of coming together, showing compassion, supporting one another. This can also be said for the final image we see, women together, leaning on one another, appearing triumphant.