Bizarre or trending subjects, catch a break with our curiosity of the week. By playing with collages and mirrors, Danish photographer Henriette Sabroe Ebbesen brings science and art together to deconstruct the ideals of beauty.

As a visual artist and medical student, Henriette Sabroe Ebbesen, 26, uses science to distort reality. Fascinated by the laws of physics and mathematical structures, she draws on this knowledge to shed light on the surrealism of our daily lives. “According to the general theory of relativity you actually can bend space and time. This is what I try to illustrate in my works by literally bending light rays with mirrors”, she tells us.

Deformed bodies, absurd collages, deconstructed silhouettes… The artist’s images question the relation between photography and reality. “Photography can do something that a painting cannot, she adds. I like to experiment with distortion precisely because distortions could give me this interesting painterly effect.” A collection of strange pictures created instinctively, unconsciously – in opposition to the logical and concrete thinking favored by science.

An unconventional beauty

It is this ambiguity that fascinates Henriette Sabroe Ebbesen, this fight between reason and creative madness, reality and fantasy. An in-between that allows her to develop, alongside her unique aesthetic, deeper themes. “I’ve produced a series which talks about the alienation of the female body and female sexual identity, which has often been distorted and alienated by society. Cosmetic surgery and genetic manipulation almost made anything possible in the strive of fulfilling expectations of beauty and perfectness. Using mirrors to manipulate the body in this series serves to illustrate how we slowly move away from reality”, she explains. A parallel world showing misshapen yet amusing and liberated bodies.

There is no cheating in the photographer’s images. Each transformation is planned beforehand. “Photoshop is only used for color and light editing”, she says. An exhausting process in which she immerses herself without hesitation: “When creating my images, I lose all sense of time and basic needs. It’s magical, but physically and mentally very draining”. Meticulous, the positions of the mirrors against the bodies divide and bring together the models to form beings of unconventional beauty. “Creating the series also helped me confront my own body insecurities by creating images that would celebrate the female body for its capability of giving birth and creating a child starting from the division of just two cells”, she concludes.

© Henriette Sabroe Ebbesen