Marieke Zapasnik is a helvetico-british documentary photographer, born in The Netherlands, currently based in Paris. Her photographic journey began with digital and she now knows how to dance with analog too. Her first love is black & white photography, but from time to time, she likes to use colour for its warmth. In her projects, she swings between one medium to another, cause every story is different, so is the way to describe them.
To have your periods, on the rag, that time of the month. Menstruation: this taboo, this shame, this infamy. Hippocrites describe it as noisome; Pliny the ancient as evil. According to the Bible a woman becomes impure when she is on her period, and so does what she touches. It makes mayonnaise turn, it kills the bees, makes the wine go sour…The shame attached to menstruation is old and deep. It is written within us, and circulates in our blood. Monthly shame. Horrid blood stream. A strong taboo sealed with a red mark.
If I did this series, it is not to shock or to make anyone uncomfortable, but to try to take away this shame, remove the taboo and give space for reflection and discussion. Even if in today’s society the evil connotation is more or less gone, it persists in our collective subconscious.
But in the end, what is menstruation? Cramps sometimes, headaches, mood swings. Every symptom will depend on the person. The end of a cycle, the beginning of a new one. Natural as hair growth, as human birth. In its essence, it is blood. Here is mine. I’m not ashamed anymore.