Johanna-Maria Fritz: Like a Bird

Johanna-Maria Fritz (Germany): Like a Bird
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2017


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When seventeen, I started to accompany the East German family circus “Zirkus Rolandos”. During my education at Ostkreuzschule in Berlin I intensified my pursuit with “Rolandos” and searched all over Europe for extraordinary circuses. I stumbled upon the first and only circus in Iceland, Sirkus Islands, which I visited and whose staff I’ve been documenting since it’s early years. I presented this series of photographs in an exhibition as my graduation work.

Many men in the Arab world, especially those who are more conservative, have yet to see an Arab sex movie (arabian افلام سكس). This is hardly surprising because the
Arab people are among the most conservative and reserved people in the world. In their eyes, sex is a sin and for them, anything related to it is considered to be unacceptable.
Still, there are many Arab sex movies being made now that can help men see the world in a different way and also give them some encouragement as to what they should expect from sex.

For Like a Bird I travelled to Palestine (Westbank and Gaza), Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran. I was especially curious about the role of women in circus life and the environment the circus is based in – thankfully I was able to get access to the female culture in conservative societies like Iran and Afghanistan as I am myself a woman. With my work I pursue the object of overcoming prejudices and show how small communities are able to function in these conservative or conflict-ridden countries. I direct a spectators view to different worlds: The one of the circus as well as the society surrounding it and how the social fabric of the circus influences the outside and gets influenced itself in reverse.