As teenagers, pretty much all of us have played with our looks at some point—after all, teen age is exactly the time when young boys and girls alike frequently change their appearance as a way to cope with the transition to adulthood. Results differ depending on how far do these modifications go…
For her series Weirdo, Olya Ivanova portrayed a group of eccentric Russian teenage girls, sporting bizarre hairdos, heavy make-up, large tattoos and piercings, with a tendency towards the goth aesthetics. Far from being a mere matter of fashion, their extreme looks are rather the exterior counterpart of the inner turmoil that so often characterizes these delicate years.
In these portraits I tried to convey the complexity of adolescent identity and high intense feeling that adults will never be able to feel again. Both emotionally and physically these people feel like aliens, strangers, freaks. They like to change their appearance—the more often the better—as they want to escape from themselves, hide their real face. So at some point it becomes difficult to understand what they actually are.
They practice in transgender, homosexuality, body modifications, pierce and cutting themselves. They prefer to use nicknames and to live in some kind of parallel reality, an intermediate area, which is alien to the geographical divisions and political laws, which is not part of any absolute reality or deliberately invented fiction, but is created by its own rituals and rules of behavior, where the boundary between good and evil, joy and sadness, innocence and perversity, real and unreal, as well as reality and fiction becomes very vague.