“Our Life in the Shadows” is influenced by the pursuit of the American Dream and contemporary practices including leisure, consumption, overstimulation, and eternal youth. The series is particularly interested in the psychological responses these generate in our everyday private lives. The project seeks to evoke a mood of isolation, desperation, vanishing, and anxiety through fragmented images that seem to exist in a simultaneously fictional and real world.

Philosopher Byung-Chul Han says we live in an era of exhaustion and fatigue caused by our incessant compulsion to perform. We have left behind the immunological era and are now experiencing the neuronal era, an age characterized by neuropsychiatric diseases such as depression, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity disorder, burnout syndrome and bipolar disorder.

My characters are anonymous, almost melting into places, vanishing, constantly looking for any possibility of escape. They find themselves alone, desperate and exhausted. They are constantly teetering on the line between trying and feeling defeated.

—Tania Franco Klein

Klein’s project was recognized by the jury of the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2017—don’t miss the work from all 44 of the outstanding, international talents!

If you enjoyed this article, you might like these previous features: The Love We Leave Behind, a previous award-winner that deals with the ephemeral nature of our passions and sorrows; Real Indications, Heiko Tiemann’s unsettling meditation on the portrait genre; and A Couple of Them, striking fictional self portraits made by a team of young French photographers.