Capturing the real, not the ideal:
Martijn Savenije’s Diffidence

Viewed as separate documents, they might just resemble a random snapshot of life. This series of photographs, however, reveals the complex inner struggle of a beautiful young woman: a struggle with self-image and surrounding expectations.

With his series Diffidence, it is not the photographer’s intention to seduce the observer with staged theatricality. On the contrary, these images move us because they discretely seem to whisper the delicate words that stand for an often miscomprehended social fear. A fear that is mistakenly regarded as a taboo in this era, in which an endless supply of contacts on social networks is, instead, supposed to confirm our ‘raison d’être’ for being social entities.

Fear and distrust are visualized strongly through the human distance captured within the images. The lack of direct eye contact results in a rather uncomfortable ambiance. The absence of a connection with the observer is caused by the fear of competing with the world’s all-pervasive standards of happiness.
More and more, we become given to photographing not what we feel but what we see. However, these photographs add a new spirit to the torrent of impassive imagery we are confronted with on a daily basis; they are a proof of the photographer’s ability to frailly capture a soul.

– Ester Bullens, May 2010

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