Name: Scarlett O’Flaherty
Tell us about yourself.
I’m currently a third year B.A Photography student at Plymouth University and I like to make photobooks.
What do you like to shoot?
Things which I am interested in, socially, politically or culturally, then I try to use visual story-telling as a way to make sense of that.
What camera do you use?
Previously a Zenza Broncia Sq-B. I’m currently using a Mamiya 7 and a Wista 45 for an ongoing project.
I noticed all of these photos are from the same set, whats the narrative behind them?
They are yes. In my second year, I had the opportunity to undertake a semester of self study. For a period of five months I spent time with the Felician Franciscan Congregation of Female Habits (Catholic Nuns) in Krakow, Poland.
The concept of an ‘inner calling’ is paramount amongst the Sisters. Most cannot define the sign which they received, some say this began through prayer or a sense of longing for God, others a love that needed to be filled. This calling, wider belief and devotion is not tangible, some would argue that this spiritual feeling cannot exist. I wondered why in today’s society, even in a slightly less secular society than ours, what makes these women dedicate their lives to the Catholic Church. As someone who doesn’t recognise themselves as religious, it was interesting to me.
Through exploring the ideology of faith, the profound belief of women who devote their lives to the Catholic Church and the idea of a calling from God, ‘Powoleni przez Boga’ (project title) is an intimate look inside the lives of the women of this Holy Order and their love for God.
What photo is your favourite, if so why?
It’s hard to say really, every image has it’s own emotional attachment for one reason or another. I’d say what I call my ‘laughing nun’ photo. For me it really shows the contentment of the women, something which you’re really aware of after spending time and building relationships with the women. Also it’s also been used for the advertisement of the new Documentary B.A at Plymouth University so I guess it’s a little achievement for me.