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Frédérique Barraja : Charlotte and her intimate war


This is one of the most touching portfolios and texts we have received in recent days! It is signed Frédérique Barraja and she introduces it as follow:

Rape does not kill, but one dies from it… Slowly. Following rapes suffered at the age of 22, Charlotte’s traumatic memory exploded and the abuse experienced in her childhood revealed itself over time.
She still lives, but her flesh is burning, she is suffocating. Dance becomes her refuge.
Her resilience will cross my path. I will accompany it, with images, during her reconstruction.
My photographs testify to the fight she leads against bulimia, anorexia, osteoporosis, scarification, dissociation, drug abuse, suicide attempts, ocd, alcohol and other addictions.
These sufferings denounce the consequences of incest and rape. This is why this topic is so important.
I like to say that it is often the photographer who reveals himself in his photographic story. Charlotte’s story echoed in me, it moved me in my flesh. Why she ? Why this story? It’s not mine. Maybe because it touches childhood and I would like to repair all broken childhoods and surely mine a little bit.
Find the beauty in this horror. By the beautiful we will get there Charlotte, I promise you…
I’m sure beauty is like snow, it covers everything ugly.
And sometimes the beautiful clears off, to let a glimpse of the ugliness come thru.
My work as a photographer is to reveal the beauty of this flower growing on this heap of “manure”.
I will try to stick as closely as possible to Charlotte’s emotions, to transform them into images, to help her free herself from her traumas, to accept them, to regain her self-confidence.
Through beauty we will get there, I am sure, but the road to resilience is long.
So I watch her, I spy on her, sometimes I spend time with her without taking out my camera.
I tame her.
I let her talk to me.
She remembers little by little. Images come back like flashes: A detail, a sentence touches me and I put it in image:
“I feel cut into a thousand pieces”,
“Innocence comes out of my wounds”,
“I dissociate myself, I am no longer there”,
“Scarify myself so as not to explode”,
“Wash myself, clean their sweat, their secretions, clean my mouth from fellatio”,
“Die like Her”,
“My chest is burning with anguish”,
“I am this gaping hole”,
“I’m afraid of turning into the food I eat”
“I will dance until I hurt myself, but I will not say anything because people should only see the beauty of the dance”
It’s not a documentary like the others, there is life, where I can follow Charlotte and take pictures of her in her daily life, there are the photos that we prepare, that we stage, which allows you to take a little distance from the subject, which is too painful. And also to offer a more subtle approach. I didn’t want aggressive photos to denounce, I wanted to take the viewer by the hand like Charlotte did with me. Inform through softness and aesthetics.
Then there is the unexpected, the times when I expect her, she won’t come. The days before shootings where she calls me at midnight to tell me that she has taken 25 lexomils, that she will not be able to come. She laughs: “Don’t worry my Freddy, I don’t want to die! »
I know, I feel it so much, you just want to stop hurting for a little while.
My images accompany her to leave her chain mail armor, before death interferes.
It all started in childhood.

Frédérique Barraja

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