stealing souls for cash
Hello! I’m Elisabeth Real, a freelance photographer based in Zurich, Switzerland. Reportage and portrait photography make my heart beat a little faster. I graduated from the University of Art and Design Zurich in 2005.
I’ve always had a strong sense of justice, of fairness, and I find that my personal projects always connect to it. I’m particularly interested in trauma—both in individuals and in groups—that stems from a political or legal injustice. But how do you make something as abstract as “trauma by injustice” visible? I choose to give those who’ve experienced trauma firsthand a voice and let them tell us how this injustice manifested in their own lives. It is my hope that by reading someone’s story and viewing their lives in photographs, it helps other humans to understand complex issues and connect to them on a personal level more easily.
From 2006 to 2012, I worked on Army of One, a longterm journalistic project about six American veterans who returned from the war in Iraq with PTSD. Through photographs and interviews, I investigated how the U.S. Army dealt with the onslaught of traumatized soldiers coming back from the Middle East and how the men and their families continued their lives after the war.
For The Lesbian Lives Project I currently photograph and interview lesbian women around the world. The ambition of this project is to make lesbians more visible and bring attention to their legal and social discrimination. In some countries, lesbians are prosecuted by the state and put in jail. In other countries, they enjoy some rights, yet they are far from equal to heterosexuals. I’ve found that this inequality, coupled with social stigma, makes lesbian women feel powerless and causes them a great deal of trauma; I strongly believe that in order to advance as a society—as a global community—we need full equality for all citizens as soon as possible. The women’s stories are published as a series. The first two volumes will be ready for publication in 2018: They investigate the dangers and struggles lesbians face today in South Africa and Switzerland. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!