de liraValerie Schmidt´s photographs from ‘De lira’ are not portraits of individuals so much as pictures that express the facets of human expression, autonomous images that somehow represent the full gamut of human emotion whether it be pain, joy, fear, laughter.
This exploration of human behaviour is given tremendous clarity in Schmidt’s photographs and while they are staged their artifice reveals a fundamental truth; that we all behave the same in moments of emotional interaction. In other words our bodily reactions are universal, our reaction to stimuli, to the world, to situations are the same. This exposition on human nature and emotional behaviour is captured succinctly in these pictures, the images almost performative with Schmidt as the director seeking out the moment of truth as her actors look to reach the epitome of their bodily expression.
When looking at these photographs you’re immediately struck by the extremity of the facial expressions, the men and women in a state of ecstatic pain and joy, like dancers or actors they seem caught in mid flow, going through an unknown series of steps to reach a climatic conclusion. We do not know the reason for their behaviour yet we understand the result of the action. We have all been there. This commonality between us, Schmidt and the subjects of her photographs, connect us to a wider world of human emotion and give us comfort, make us understand that we are similar, all undergo the same traumatic expressions as everyone else.