The Bright Shadow By Marietta Varga, A Dream-Like World of Isolation

The Budapest-based photographer was moved to document her personal experiences and emotions that have come with being in lockdown. “When the pandemic and the self-isolation began nearly everything stopped around us and all our lives changed in the blink of an eye,” she says. “Initially, extreme distress and fear passed through me and the first weeks were full of emotional ups and downs”. Varga slowly embraced the positive impact the new reality has had on her personal life and creative work. “During these times of turmoil, I began to slowly realize that this situation teaches me lessons by opening my eyes to values that are fundamentally important to me, but which I have overlooked in the past years,” she shares. “The world around me has slowed down and recently I have started perceiving and appreciating details and wonders of everyday life in this extraordinary state.”

For Varga, isolation invited introspection. The artist has found photography to be both a coping mechanism as well as a creative release. “My aim is to record these experiences through my photographs and to take them along with myself as mementos so that I will always remember those feelings I experienced during the lockdown,” she says. “It became apparent to me in the last few years that observing plays of light for prolonged periods and focusing on these phenomena makes me feel both truly tranquil and unusually excited. However, I am not able to take out as much time to do this as I would wish to during my ‘normal’ rushing days,” she explains. Forced to stay home, Varga began exploring the naturally-lit living spaces around her, finding fresh ways to immortalize the ‘new normal’. The result is a collection of intimate images depicting solitude that are charged with a metaphorical intensity. In the compositions, everyday scenes and mundane objects are cast in a striking ambient light, which adds to the narrative. Unique in its sensitivity to color and in its distinctive atmosphere, ‘The bright shadow’ has a melancholic dimension to it; immersing viewers into a strange dream while revealing moments of intimacy, honesty, and beauty.

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