Adam Broomberg


Glitter in my Wounds

The project was a collaborative effort involving CAConrad and Gersande Spelsberg, resulting in a series of photographic portraits, an exhibition and book.

Captured during a 9-hour session in Berlin, all within a single day. The body of work consisted of 100 photographs, shot on 5”x4” negative, featuring trans activist and actress Spelsberg as the model. It explores the interpretation of the self through photographic identity. Guided and influenced by CAConrad’s poem, “Glitter in My Wounds” from their book, “(Soma)tic Poetry Rituals”, which deals with existing narratives in cis-gendered society concerning LGTBQ+ identity. The particular lighting technique employed was inherited from Helmar Lerski, from his series ‘Metamorphosis Through Light”, 1936, using multiple mirrors and sunlight as his primary light source. Obeying the mechanics of repetition, each photo resembles a copy of the previous one, yet at the same time, the slightest changes are apparent on each photo making it a unique result in an attempt to capture the character. 

Appearing as a reenactment, the project redefined two versions of the binary stance on photography. It drew inspiration from the infatuation with Helmar Lerski’s work, particularly its lack of sentimentality and nostalgia and resistance to classification or claims of any kind. While on the other side of the spectrum, from August Sandler’s contribution to the romanticized appearance of portrait photography, whose work slipped easily into the eugenic narrative of the Nazi regime.

In the fall of 2021, these three artists previously collaborated on a book of the same name, Glitter in My Wounds, published by MACK. The book features a selection of the portraits Spelsberg made by Broomberg, alongside the titular poem by CAConrad. A copy of the book can be purchased in our online shop or in person at the gallery.