ABOUT THE EXHIBITION:
‘How I Lied on Instagram – Backstage’ is a photographic story of a double fight against one’s advanced breast cancer. One story takes place behind the eyes of the public, and the other, the virtual one, embellishes the picture of life, completely hiding the consequences of the fight against cancer, and on the face of it, gives a false picture of reality.
However, both stories show the intimate struggle of a woman with breast cancer, all of its consequences and accompanying changes that primarily and fiercely attack the very feature that visually gives us the shape of femininity.
In this exhibition, through intimately recorded photo-stories ranging from birthdays without hair through stylized parties to ‘sexy editorials’ where virtual and realistic presentations merge, journalist Ana Josipović shows what hair and breast loss looks like and how to deal with it at present times, obsessed with body aesthetics.
The exhibition involves 13 photo stories, with Ana’s sister, Slavica Josipović, behind the camera lens. Each story is, in fact, a photo installation that begins with an edited look for the public – photos posted on Instagram where Ana hides her hair loss by playing with wigs and gets ‘likes’ because of her makeover. These photos are juxtaposed with a ‘backstage’ story − hair loss, hospital bed, post-operation scars.
The aim of this photo-project is showing how to fight a difficult life situation with aesthetics, fashion and beauty.
Finding out that I had breast cancer did not scare me. I’d rather say it made me angry. I was furious at my own life! There was one scary thing, though. The first thing I asked the doctor was, ‘Am I going to lose my hair?’ My fear wasn’t that I would soon lose my breasts, maybe even die. My fear was that I might lose my hair. My long hair that I was addicted to. The hair that I didn’t want to even shorten by more than 5 cm because it was emotionally too difficult for me. The hair that I carefully kept from too much blow-drying and straightening in order to keep it healthy, using the finest masks and beauty products. No chance. I choose dying, but I will not lose my hair.
In less than two months, I was bald, with no eyelashes, with eyebrows tattooed, and with wigs that entered my life. So, hand in hand with the traditional fight that I go through quietly and far away from the public under the control of my doctor, my fashion game with cancer began. My team included Blondie, Cicciolina, Melania Trump, Clementine Kruczynski, Beyonce, Nastassja Kinski, Anna Oxa – that’s how I named my wigs, and each of them brought a new character to this fight.
With them, I may have cheated Instagram and left the impression that I live a stylized fancy life, in which I change the look of my hair ever so often. In fact, I was embellishing that other, ‘real’ side of my life that was hitting me and insidiously taking away the details important to women.
In a way, such a stylish game shifted my attention from the ‘ugly’ and at the same time gave me the strength to fight behind the scenes. It helped me give a checkmate to a life situation that took away my hair, breasts, nails, female hormones and, in a way, tried to steal my femininity.
This is my defiance. Female defiance.
I was diagnosed with a ‘breast’ tumor exactly two months before my birthday. And it was not in the initial stage. It had already metastasized. I embraced chemotherapy and I had one wish only − for my hair to last until my birthday.
I did not want to welcome it completely naked, disarmed, on my knees, ugly, hairless, hopeless and desireless.
It fell out two days before my birthday.
I posted the first hairless photo on Instagram on my birthday. In one special dress. With a brown wig, the only one I didn’t name. Only that one, of all my wigs, plays me as I was before.
As if nothing had happened.
Eyelashes: 5-6 on each eye
Eyebrows: thinned but tattooed
By a strange twist of fate, I became the ‘first’ in all my jobs − the first fashion editor in Grazia, GloriaGlam and Gloria magazines. I also launched Cosmopolitan.hr and Stilist magazine.
In recent years, the internet and the street became my office. With my sister, Slavica Josipović, also a journalist, I design and run the fashion portal Style Zagreb, which writes about street fashion and talks about the culture of contemporary dressing.
I make fashion reports for Croatian television shows. For the past ten years, I have been actively involved in humanitarian work, and lived in Africa and Cambodia for a while.