Women Crush Wednesday: Marinka Masséus
Marinka Masséus, who not only studied photography at the Photo Academy in Amsterdam, also acquired her MBA and she studied Buddhist Psychology. Using what she learned from school Marinka strives to make a difference in the world with her photography. Her work focuses on, gender equality, inequality and injustice in the world as she sees them.
Interview by Francisco Rosario
FR: How did you end up photographing Under the sun? How did the opportunity come about?
Marinka: Two years ago, I read an article about the horrible circumstances of people with albinism (PWA) in Tanzania. It described the widely held superstitions among Tanzanians - including the widespread practices of so-called witch doctors who use their body parts in potions.
Because of these practices, PWA are persecuted, attacked and killed. They are considered not to be human. I was shocked and I immediately decided to do a project about this topic to create awareness. After contacting the Dutch based NGO ‘African Albino Foundation', I travelled to Dar-es-Salaam and met up with Josephat Torner (a PWA himself and one of the leading activists for equality and social inclusion of people with albinism).
FR: When you were photographing was there anything you were told by one of the subjects that changed your view or time there in Tanzania?
Marinka: The children didn’t speak English, which meant that the conversation was confined to the very basics and body language. But, actually this afternoon, 2 years later, something happened that made a deep impact on me.
I am still involved in supporting the children, and one of the girls with albinism, Haditya, has been having a large open wound on her leg for over a year now. They thought it was a flesh eating bacteria, and together with Bas Kreukniet from The African Albino Foundation, I have helped out financially so she could get treatment. Now a year later, after pushing for second opinions, we find that it might be cancer and we are making plans to have her treated again. Turns out her parents have her begging in the streets and therefore have no interest in having her treated. The large open wound is beneficial to them. I know we will make it happen, we will help her. But the thought of the lack of love and care is just unimaginable to us and very hard to process emotionally.
FR: Does this project differ from your other work?
Marinka: Yes and no. Topics concerning injustice and inequality are always a driving force behind my work, and in that sense Under the same Sun is no exception. But the most common thread throughout my work is misogyny and gender inequality.
My latest projects were in Iran and future projects will definitely cover gender issues, both at home and abroad. I believe that misogyny is one of the most underestimated inequalities in the world, it is of all cultures and of all times. Often it is even more difficult to recognize gender inequality in one’s own culture since one is part of that specific programming. But it is there. It is always there. Whether it is the gender pay gap, domestic violence, rape culture, honor killings, forced genital mutilation or restriction of freedoms, there is still a lot of work to be done, also in our culture, as evidenced by the overwhelming resonance of the #metoo movement.
1. How would you describe your creative process in one word? Organized chaos. (sorry that is 2 words :)
2. If you could teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be? Philosophy
3. What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you? All the books from Margaret Atwood, especially the Handmade’s Tale and the Oryx and Crake trilogy.
4. What is your most played song in your music library? Anything from Adèle, especially Rolling in the Deep and Set fire to the Rain.
5. How do you take your coffee? I do not drink coffee, never have!
To see more of Marinka's work: www.marinkamasseus.com