On The Internal Duality Of Women
For her project ‘Darlene & Me’, photographer Anja Niemi captured a series of staged portraits depicting two fictional female characters as an exploration of women and the relationship they have with themselves.
“Darlene & Me started with the content of a suitcase from 1959, that left me thinking about the relationship we have with ourselves.” The shoot, which took place in the Californian desert, show two women in various emotional states, such as comfort, agony or in conflict with each other. Speaking of the idea behind the project, Niemi recalls the following story:
“‘Darlene & Me’ started with the content of a suitcase from 1959, that left me thinking about the relationship we have with ourselves. The case belonged to a beauty counselor named Darlene and contained makeup samples, brochures and the receipts from her sales. Most of the samples appeared to be untouched, but there were clear traces of her fingers in the two lipstick colors, ‘Strawberry Festival’ and ‘Princess Pink’.
In August 1960, Darlene sold a jar of ‘Liquid Beauty’ and one ‘Temptress’s Hairspray’, both to herself. After that, she made no more sales. The case left me with a feeling of a woman’s failed attempt at success, and a strong sense of who got in her way. The woman I envisioned became the only character of my next series, ‘Darlene and Me’.” Based in Norway, Niemi focuses on conceptual photography with a background in design. Her work is exhibited internationally.