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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
Love is brutal. Beautiful. A rollercoaster ride of paradox emotions. From lush forests of fiery passion to deserted quicksand of fearful despair; my love relationship has been a merge of delightful joie de vivre and hurtful self-questioning over my own sanity. Adrenaline rushes, screams of joy and excitement in one moment, only to feel sick and nauseous from the whirls in the next.
A double-edged sword: Love heals – Love hurts. The person that makes you feel alive can make you feel like you are dying. Looking in the mirror, my eyes revealed the struggle of losing myself. I felt vulnerable and hurt, yet simultaneously empowered to harm – the one I loved.
Never did I grow more than in my relationship. A partner constantly mirrors you, boldly reflecting both your most adorable and repulsive sides. Our love has been a burning, raging fire – someone was bound to get burned. Sometimes you just have to let it burn. Once the blaze is over, new things can grow, nurtured from the ashes of the past.
“HeartCore” is an ongoing series of conceptual self-portraits and portraits of my partner, illustrating the range of ambiguous emotions I experience in our love relationship. During our six years together we lived the full spectrum: from happiness to sadness, passion to rejection, tenderness to aggression, hatred to harmony. We have experienced the best, yet also faced the worst. Through this project I am working through our problems – finding a therapy for myself in photographing us. This visual relationship diary has helped me deal with issues I thought I couldn’t overcome. It has aided me to forgive, heal, let go of the past, and move on towards a brighter future.
Nadja Wohlleben is a documentary photographer and modern nomad, traveling the world with her camera in hand whenever she can. Both a photojournalist and an anthropologist, Nadja wants her work to improve intercultural understanding. Her empathy enables her to approach people of all kinds, striving on her sensitivity to capture them in the right light. Idealist at heart, stubborn by nature, German by nationality, Nadja pushes the envelope of contemporary photography – whether in her documentary work or more conceptual personal projects. She works both digital and on film, capturing a raw genuine intensity in her imagery, while celebrating life in the moment, the instant, the transient.