A Husband in Paris

The series of images A Husband in Paris was set out as a playful comment on the idea of marrying abroad for papers, due to political isolation in economically underdeveloped countries. This was a starting point in my work, which, during the course of its progress, acquired a number of other meanings related to the choice of place and the characters photographed.

The scenario is the following: I myself took up the role of a young woman from Eastern Europe in the search of a husband in Paris, the model of a Western “city of dreams“. Walking across the city districts within the period of several weeks, I approached candidates asking them whether they would be willing to “marry me” and what it would look like. After a short introductory “sniffing“, they happily agreed to pose together with me for a snapshot, in which we played the role of a potential couples.

The aesthetic complexity of these staged images surpasses the strictly political aspects and stretches to romantic relationships between possible marriage partners as well as the seduction of the young woman who, in her appointed role, does not hide that she is “in the hurry”.

However, not every type of “marriageable material” would do; the selection of candidates was based on their look, origin, style, profession, etc. This work stands at the intersection of private (aspirations and limitations) with the more global issues (societies in flux and transition, fictive marriages and their socio-emotional consequences), reflected as such in the informality of snapshot aesthetics. The set poetic rules and the hilarious approach however reduce a certain uneasiness and explicitness of the initial idea, turning it into a light and spontaneous game of revealing latent possibilities in human relationships interwoven with cultural differences; and offering visual descriptions of human needs, expectations and illusions.

— Katarina Radovic