The Woman Who Never Existed by Anja Niemi combines two of my loves – photography and the theatre. Inspired by the words of the pioneering Italian actress, Eleonora Duse, the stunning images exude heightened, dramatised emotion.
Eleonora worked the international theatre stage alongside Sara Bernhardt in the early 20th century. In contrast to Bernhardt's outgoing personality, Duse was introverted and private, rarely giving interviews. She once famously told a pushy New York journalist, that "away from the stage I do not exist".
In her series, Niemi takes on the role of a fictional character, visualised after reading Eleonora’s words. The Woman Who Never Existed tells the story of an actress who only exists in front of an audience, when no one is looking she starts to disappear.
In the same way as with previous works, Niemi works alone – photographing, staging and acting out the characters in all of her photographs.
The Woman Who Never Existed by Anja Niemi is at The Little Black Gallery, 13A Park Walk, Chelsea, London SW10 0AJ from 4 - 27 May. For more information, visit the gallery's website.
Main image: The Crying Circus © Anja Niemi / courtesy of The Little Black Gallery