Two young women, one red and one blue plastered arm. The image symbolizes solidarity, but what´s even more to it? That´s what we wanted to know from our photographer Erik Schlicksbier.

@ Erik Schlicksbier/Westend61

@ Erik Schlicksbier/Westend61

Were the plastered arms real or a prop, Erik?

Erik Schlicksbier

Erik Schlicksbier

“One cast was real (the red one), the other one wasn´t. Since both girls knew of my Broken Body series, they came up to me when Mila just had her cast and said, that it would be a cool image series if Caro as her best friend would have her arm plastered as well.
Broken Body is a special series and very important to me because it was my first conceptual series ever. It started many many years ago – in about 2008 – as an application for the Cologne art school, even if it later became the EVA course at the Photo + Media Forum Kiel. How I came up with that as a main subject I cannot remember exactly but for sure there were both biographical doctor / psychiatrist family as well as interest reasons: Around that time I was in Bochum studying Film and Television with Psychology as a minor and visited an awesome seminar on body cinema‘.

Christian Fuchs summerazid it very well:’The physical destruction, the body cinema concludes, is one of the last chances in the fight for the rest of the passions in the post-orgasmic simulacra world. A struggle that takes place in several ways: the protagonists catch authenticity by bringing their body into the game itself or, more literally, gamble with it, hurt it, sacrifice and destroy.

The films to which for expample David Cronenberg, David Lynch or Shinya Tsukamoto contributed their works, were kind of a revelation. No more aseptic hero, whom the strokes, plunges, bullets could not hurt. No, the body which is represented medially as inviolable‘ and ‘hard’ is shown as he really is in the body of cinema (and then partially enhanced to the other extreme).

And all of a sudden the main topic of this photo series came into my mind: it’s about the vulnerability of the supposedly strong body. Mostly viewed as being so strong, but in reality the vulnerable and soft shell of the people in an exciting contrast to the actual hardness and strength of bracers, casts and/or fixatives.

Since then, there have been – also due to my photographer training – many other thematic and / or narrative series of course. Still I keep returning to the Broken Body Series again and again. First because it is close to my heart and also with this concept I entered unknown territory for the first time in my photography career. On the other hand probably, because I’m still looking for the ‘perfect’ Broken Body Series. I only do not have pressure to find the perfect series. Right now I’m enjoying it to look which styles, options and ideas it still offers if you only stick to the main subject I just mentioned. And perhaps at some point there will be ‘the perfect series’. In addition, it is also fun to enjoy the luxury of freedom. Usually as a photographer you have your concept idea and try to stick to it. The least people try to only provide a main topic and then look in many individual series on how to fulfill the main theme.

Which is also a nice side effect: The images from my broken body series sell the best in agencies… ;-)”