Irina Shkoda is a Ukranian photographer based in Moscow, Russia. She graduated from the School of Modern Photography Docdocdoc, Saint-Petersburg, in 2019. In her project MISERERE, she recreates various significant events from her life using photography, looking at them from the outside in an attempt to see them “as God does”. Each frame in the series corresponds to both a traumatic memory and a line from the psalm of David which, according to the rule of prayer, she read twice a day, morning and evening, as a child. Through recreating these events, she is reviewing her memories from new perspectives – ”though no new way of defining myself takes me out of the Christian paradigm, where agency derives from pain and trauma,” she says, adding as reference a line by author Roland Barthes: “The subject (since Christianity) is the one who suffers. Where there is a wound, there is a subject”.
Religion has always played a central role in Shkoda’s life, and her particular interpretation of it, along with a strained relationship with her father, drew her towards the idea of “sin” in her youth. “From reading the New Testament I learned that God did not come to the righteous, but to the sinners, and this dictated my behavior for many years,” she explains. “Mary Magdalene became an example I would follow as a woman who lived outside of taboos. I interpreted sin as rebellion, new sincerity, and the right to subjectivity.”