Based in Spain photographer Mijal Perez Saggio began constructing images four years ago after finishing school and attending the Institut of Photography in Buenos Aires. Attending briefly, she left for Brazil where she stayed for three months photographing natural phenomena and people. After returning home she elaborates that it was difficult for her to create images and express herself through the medium as she felt lethargic and could not focus on her art discipline.
At present she explains, that she is working through anxiety and has found a wave of inspiration – Mijal is behind the camera again. For her photography has acted as a therapeutic and healing device with each click and each shoot lifting her spirit. She refers to the medium as a saving grace and a way to escape the anxiety induced thoughts in her head for a few hours.
Mijal is a feminist who feels strongly about collaborating with likeminded individuals; people who are aware that the world is in a state of change. She speaks about the importance of giving space to those who have been overlooked by particular systems such as privilege. In our conversation, she stresses her intent and belief to create space for people who are not in the “binary system, [the] hetero system or [the] white system”. For her, it is paramount that all people are included and feel beautiful.
A body of work with Virginia Ice speaks to the notion of embracing both masculinity and femininity. An extract from the text by Virginia that accompanies the series reads as follows:
I’m reclaiming my masculinity, my androgynous, caring, vulnerable masculinity. There’s nothing more masculine than women’s quiet strength.
Nobody knows how to be a man better than someone who has failed at it for a lifetime. I can be a man, I was raised to be one, but in order to want to be a man I have to redefine what that means. I don’t want to be just a man.
I know I invade masculinity sometimes, when a gay boy or a straight girl falls for me. Those times I can get terribly insecure. I’m not masculine in a classical way, I’m not violent, I’m not competitive, I’m a queer body taking up space, changing perceptions one boner at a time.
Maybe things aren’t so rigid and some masculinities are estrogen filled. Maybe right now I’m feeling like the boy I ran away from, and I like it.
Within Mijal’s work, the human form takes centre stage, oftentimes completely dominating the frame. When models occasionally share equal weight with their environments it remains clear that it is the body, the person, the identity and the essence that remains the focal point. Though Mijal has no interest in making her models appear goddesses-like and seeks natural representation there is some majesty that oozes from her vivid depictions. Recurring stylistic devises which evoke the individuality of each sitter is her use of soft almost dreamlike focus, soft lighting and from time to time a sneaky stark flash which renders a harsher tone to her usual explorations. Mijal has an affinity to studio work where she has the ability to mould light thereby evoking emotion and individual identity.
Though her Instagram account might be sparse at present she is definitely a photographer whom I’ve placed on my radar.