Portraiture – here is what unites our two readers picks of the week. Sandra Mickiewicz captures marginalised populations and Marie-Melodie Ramirez denounces plastic overconsumption.

Sandra Mickiewicz

“I have always had an interest in art. As a child, I used to paint and draw a lot – mainly portraits. When I got into college and I stepped into the darkroom for the first time, I felt like I belonged here”, Sandra Mickiewicz tells us. From Poland, the artist studied photography in the United Kingdom, specialising in documentary and portraiture. Fascinated by people, she produces series inspired by their journeys, slices of life that move her. “Everyone has a story to tell and I am fortunate enough to be able to step into someone’s life out of nowhere with my camera”, she says. Happy Club and Proud of the origin read as two complementary projects. Two series highlighting marginalised populations. “The first one was produced in Jaywick, one of the most deprived town of England, struggling with problems such as unemployment, poor health and crime”, Sandra Mickiewicz explains. The second one follows Gypsies and travellers around the country. “My intention was to portray them as sympathetic and sociable people, to deconstruct the typical stereotypes”, she tells us. Bathed in natural light, her subjects face the camera with dignity. One portrait after another, the notions of resilience and community prevail, erasing the disparities.

© Sandra Mickiewicz

Marie-Mélodie Ramirez

Ecological, political… the series of Marie-Mélodie Ramirez, also known as Mariposa is also humorous. “Photography allows me to tell life stories – whether real or imaginary – to highlight a banal or forgotten detail”, the artist says. And her project Plastic sick is a mix of all of all of the above. “I’m denouncing consumer’s society while questioning our daily lifestyle. I would love these images to spread awareness on the dangerous outcomes of our behaviours”. Drowning, nauseous, men in Plastic sick end up suffocating from a material that has become omnipresent: plastic. By celebrating Zero waste, the artist shares her honest and committed take on our excessive lifestyles.

© Marie-Melodie Ramirez