Maria Kapajeva (a portrait of the artist as a young woman)

Maria Kapajeva

Maria Kapajeva’s series, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman, is an example of self portraiture where the subject is absent. Kapajeva has adopted this ‘self-absented’ approach by capturing images of her peers, those women that she admires and identifies with as having similar identities, opinions and values. Maria is a feminist who is not afraid to break with tradition; she has found a way to say something about herself by photographing like minded women with whom she associates.

As someone who is interested in literature I was curious as to why Kapajeva chose to identify with James Joyce’s title for her series. The novel is an example of Bildungsroman in literature and I can see this in Kapajeva’s statement; showing her formative years and awakening, questioning and rebellion against patriarchy. (like Joyce’s character questioned and rebelled against the Irish religious and cultural conventions he was born in to).

Kapajeva says that it ‘was very important for me to photograph these women in their own environment; studios, homes etc as I believe their own spaces add to the story’ (photoparley, 2018). I do think that the spaces represent each of the women and their individual circumstances and choices and from the setting we can consider them to be unique and realising their own potential in whatever field they chose.

A Portrait of the artist as a young woman can be seen here.



photoparley. (2018). Maria Kapajeva. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Jan. 2018].


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