The Capa Grand Prize Hungary is annually awarded to a photographer who works in any branch of photography, has been established professionally, and demonstrates a proven track record of outstanding talent. The Capa Center established the prize to emphasize its commitment to the creation of new artworks that enrich our society. The fellowships and the prize aim at furthering the development of the artists, and encouraging their future experimentation.
The series focuses on female sexuality, challenges taboos and reflects on issues surrounding the social standing of women,
Éva Szombat: I Want Orgasms, Not Roses
I was 29 when I bought my first ever vibrator. I have always had fantasies about such objects but I was too shy to recognize them. When I found myself in a serious relationship I overcame that obstacle.
I played alone, we played together, I started to open up.
I photographed, posted and even exhibited said first vibrator. I was terrified of what other people would think but my world didn’t turn upside down after all.
In my whole life I’ve been more interested in sexuality than I dared to admit to myself. I believed it was bad manners for girls to be interested in such a thing so openly. I believed so, until I met people who would fearlessly talk about sex, masturbation, orgasms, the clitoris, porn and fantasies. It was liberating to belong to this group.
In 2017 I posted a public advertisement.
I was looking for people who would show their sex toys to the public.
To my great surprise many answered my call. They also had a strong desire to talk about their sexuality without shame. The contributors came from various walks of life: student, social worker, hairdresser, translator, artist, dominatrix, entrepreneur, employees, unemployed people, freelancers, wives, girlfriends, single people, divorcees, mothers-to-be, mothers and even a grandmother. In addition to taking pictures, I was conducting interviews, which let me dive deeper, dredging up serious traumas in more than one cases. I’ve learned something new after every single session.
While working on this project I found my grandmother’s memory book, which she got during World War II. The messages in it, that were meant to prepare one for life, often corresponded with the thoughts my participants had told me about their own inhibitions. These lines from many generations before, served as pointers for girls. They implied that
in case you were born a woman you should be modest, obedient, bear the pain and suffering.
The participants, just like myself, internalized these thoughts. My relationship to sexuality has changed a lot throughout the years and the project itself has changed with it. The objects became less and less important, as I became a lot more interested in the owners and their stories. I was looking for means to get rid of the shame connected to sexuality, overcome societal conventions and break free from inherited behavioural patterns. The toys became the key to establishing honest communication.