The Transgressive in the Photography of Natalie Girsberger

Natalie Girsberger takes us behind the scenes of fashion runways giving us a transgressive look at models, often suffering to fit the molds required by their profession. These photographs may be cautionary tales, alerting young women that success may not be down these avenues. And so the Transgressive genre in all media–once one gets past the initial shock–has an underlying need to instruct. The shock technique gets our attention.

The photos titled Passing Shadow and Industry Standards see the fashion industry through a critical lens.


How far will women go, participating in a society obsessed with creating a pretty picture?


Body measurements, models–who are often young girls– miserable, as they rise and fall on the ever changing fashion scene. Their features fit beauty standards for such a very limited period of time.  Passing Shadow asks the viewer to question the real essence of the pretty surface and to become aware of the suffering the model goes through to look this thin.

As the photographer, Natalie Girsberger describes—“Industry Standards shows a girl that’s clearly beautiful, but she is just skin and bones. She is freezing in her perfectly styled outfit and the hard light emphasises her skeleton-like appearance. This images shows how there’s a fine line between beauty and sickness in this business that treats its starving models like shiny objects.”

Mental illness also a theme of the Transgressive genre. In Natalie’s “Shine on Crazy Diamond” series, she thematizes mental illness, schizophrenia in particular.


Describing here work in this series, Natalie Girsberger writes: “These color images show how all-consuming mental illness becomes part of your body, surrounds you, strips you naked without leaving you to defend yourself. The color design of these images expresses how the illness can seem like a drug trip, opening up a whole world of perception inaccessible to outsiders, which at times, can even seem satisfactory. It urges a viewer to look intensively at a person that is mentally ill instead of just pushing her or him away as yet another crazy one.”
 Read more about these series and others in the photographic fine art work of Natalie Girsberger, in an article published today by Xposy Multimedia Magazine here.
When asked about the image above, Natalie wrote: “The image with the skeleton is about the death wish, that all of us, to whatever extent, feel. It’s about Wertherism and feeling dead and empty inside in a time where everything functions over screens. It’s about the yearning to strip life to its bare bones, experience extremes rather than being trapped in a mediated society of numbness.”
You may also view more of Natalie Girsberger’s work on her website: