Marinka Masséus

After finishing her MBA, Marinka's studies in Buddhist Psychology guided her philosophical journey and the Photo Academy in Amsterdam stimulated her to channel her concepts and feelings into images. Gender equality is a main theme running through Marinka’s work. She feels strongly about the importance of raising this subject and she just returned from Iran where she worked on two projects concerning the position of women. Marinka's photography revolves around people and is a constant reflection of her passion and fascination for human nature and the way we live our lives. Especially topics concerning injustice and inequality are a driving force behind her work. She works both in her studio in Amsterdam, where she creates portraits and nudes inspired by misogyny and feminism, as well as abroad on projects concerning human rights and female rights. Every project starts intrinsically, the issue has to touch her. This connection to a particular topic is the foundation of each series.

Marinka’s photography has received prestigious international awards, including Lucie Award - IPA Photographer of the Year, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017, Kuala Lumpur Portrait Awards 2017 and many more. Her work is published internationally and exhibited around the world. 


‘My Stealthy Freedom’ was created in Tehran, Iran and reflects on the forced wearing of hijab which -for the majority of Iranian women- is the much hated symbol of oppression. Additionally, I wished to break through the stereotype image that many Westerners have of Iran, to create a series that can build a bridge, to connect, so that we can all recognize each other across cultures. 

Every day, Iranians, especially the women, defy the regime courageously by small acts of defiance. By wearing the hijab too low, the colors too bright, the pants too tight or the manteaux too short. Together these constant acts of bravery are affecting change, slowly but visibly evolving. The regime on the other hand responds to these small acts of rebellion with regular crack-downs - when women are arrested and harassed - and by creating new laws, like the recent ban for women to ride a bicycle. 

This project came together with amazing and brave women offering to work with me. With the windows of my Tehran apartment covered in tinfoil so that the flash would not be visible from the outside, we were safe to create and let creativity flow. The women threw their brightly colored hijabs in the air and I captured this act of defiance. I will never forget the amazing energy of our time together! 

Here you’ll find a few reflections of their feelings: “As a girl, I did not want to follow a rule that was forced on me! But I had to, coz if something is not obeyed here, there will be consequences! And I did not wanted to trouble myself or my family in any way! So I followed but that did not made me a believer! From the time I went to school I always heard that we all are brothers & sisters! That we are all equal! But in real life.. well there was no equality! Coz I had to cover up for the men! How is that equal?! How come they didn’t have to cover up for me?!” 

“Revolution happened Iran before I was born , two years before so when I grew up I thought this is how it must be, women should look like that, but when I checked my mom's photo or I saw movies I found a paradox, why there is difference between us and the other little girls in other countries? I grew up with this paradox, all my teenage hood and after it I had this war inside myself that I didn't want to wear scarfs or long shirts, I wanted to have wind in my hair, being exposed to sunlight like a normal person! But I didn't get the real truth until the government made some special police for compulsory hijab called "gashte ershad" when I got arrested by police and they treat me like a criminal (taking my photo with name , fingerprint,..) I got the bitter truth, I felt like a bird getting stuck in a cage, my natural way of living is different than the way our government and society forced me to be, all my life I tried to respect others believes but literally no one in government has respected mine, at least it has been 10 years that every time I want to go out I felt someone’s oppression and injustice on my head, I really feel imprisoned in scarf and hijab.”


© Eduard Planting Gallery | Fine Art Photographs - 2017
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