Photo project

The Fairytales of Forest N: The Imaginary World of Nashalina Schrape

A photographer from Berlin Nashalina Schrape spent four years imagining fairytale worlds and inhabiting them with creatures who have supernatural powers.

Nashalina Schrape

Born in West Berlin, lives in New York. Has a Master’s of Science in Art Psychotherapy. Published in National Geographic, Paragraph, Lenspeople, Foto4all, SHOTS, worked for Redux.

This project attempts to make sense of a world that can at once be beautiful, uncertain, fragile and frightening. Like fairytales, I hope my photographs inspire awe, otherworldliness, and mystery. Wavering in between the realm of ethereal and everyday, my images give the viewer an opportunity to become enlightened through their own projections. A happy ending is possible but not a given. The viewer is asked to create their own story and dialogue.

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I was born in Berlin with the legacy of violence of World War II, the shame of Nazism and the separation of my family by a heavily armed wall that was fortified by a heavy Soviet occupation. As the Russian Army was invading Berlin at the end of WWII, my grandmother burned all of the photos of her husband in his German SS uniform, to protect her and her daughter from violent retribution. Using my art, I attempt to bridge the erasure of the image of my grandfather and his presence in my family’s story, and every person’s story, that is at once a myriad of feelings and laden with emotional material mostly outside the possibility of verbal articulation.

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I wanted to create a beautiful and mystical netherworld. A world that is of the East and the West. Of the past and the present. Where bears can talk, children are the wisest and a woman can turn into a wolf. Where there are no factory farms, shopping malls or oil spills. Where nature always triumphs over concrete. And to tell the stories of all the warriors I would meet along the way.

I’m satisfied with the results. For every shoot, I get to reside in this fairy tale world that the subject and I create alongside finding magical locations. I also enjoy the not knowing of every shoot and letting the collaboration of my vision and the subject’s personality or movements come together. It is a joy to trust in the moment of making the art and experiencing it unfolding. The hardest part is staying the course and believing in my vision. I have been working on this project for about 4 years and shot over 60 people.

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