I came across Corpus Vertebrae on Instagram and I immediately fell in love with it: it's eerie, dark but also soft, and I can relate a lot. I'm sure that I'm not the only one. I'm very happy to introduce this mysterious and authentic artist. Thank you for answering my questions, beautiful soul. (Célia Schouteden - founder/editor)
Can you introduce yourself a little for those who aren't familiar with your work?
I’m a self-taught female photographer from Poland. I’m 24 years old. I’ve been taking photos (both digital and traditional) since 2009. Art is the love of my life.
How and when did your artistic journey start?
I started taking photos in 2009. We bought a camera for our family, it was an Olympus E-410. I've simply started taking pictures – nature, landscapes. Then I took a first portrait of a classmate.
Your photographs are very dark but also illustrate a peculiar softness. What's the story behind your style?
What's the essence of your work?
My photos were nothing special for years. I don’t identify myself with those old ones. I’ve created the most important images in the last 3 years, when I’ve started struggling with depression. I’ve taken a lot of self-portraits, because it was my way to deal with mental pain and anxiety, but I think this darkness is always somewhere with me, it doesn't matter if I’m taking pictures of myself or someone else. I don’t fake anything and I’m not trying to be someone else. I’m just trying to tame the darkness and death that are living in my heart. I think art can heal wounds.
Where do you find your inspiration?
It’s always connected with the strongest emotions and feelings, like confrontation with death, mental pain, fear, anxiety.
Why "Corpus Vertebrae"?
There was a time when I was using my own name, but I don’t do it anymore. At some point I wanted to release myself from my name, identity, nationality and gender. „Corpus Vertebrae” is in Latin and it means a part of the spine. I’ve found this name in the anatomy book and I fell in love. I thought it must be perfect for someone like me, who loves bones, skulls and the aesthetics of ugliness.
What is your ultimate aim?
I don’t know. It’s hard for me to say, that there is any, actually. I just am and create right now, as I am still alive.
You share a lot of your vulnerability and an intense inner emotional life through your photography. How does that make you feel to create a piece so personal and then sharing it with the world?
Sometimes it feels uncomfortable, it depends, but I have to create, it’s my addiction. There are people who will understand it and some who won’t. I only don’t like when some tries to break the boundary of privacy or when someone tries to make a diagnosis. I've had different, weird situations during those years. I’ve also met different people – just because of my pictures. Some of them became my friends, some of
them I don’t want to remember. And it’s all connected with the fact that this one individual person can truly understand who you are (also in front of your creation) or not at all.
Is it something close to your heart that someone somewhere can eventually relate to your work? Was it
something you were hoping for when you started sharing your work?
Yes, definitely. Those people are close to me, even if we’ll never see each other, because I know they are wounded like me.
You exclusively create black & white photography: why do you use this specific color palette? What's your relationship with it?
I’ve decided to create only in black and white, because colorful photography looks infantile for me. I’m not looking for that kind of presentation, I don’t want to create fairy tales or pleasant images.
Monochrome is raw, perfect, minimal, dark. The other thing is that photography began with b&w photography (and sepia) and this is what I feel with all my heart.
Do you have any project for the future?
Yes, I’m constantly looking for unique people to take pictures of.
If you had to pick one book/one song/one artist/one painting/..., which one(s) would it be?
It’s hard to pick one. I would say: Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Francesca Woodmann, Sebastiao Salgado, James Nachtwey, David Nebreda, Julia Margaret Cameron, Zdzisław Beksiński, Franz Kafka, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Haneke, Lars von Trier and many many more.