To conclude the first half of the participants of Everyday Heroes, I would like to introduce myself - Stefan Varga "Mr V", the photographer & creator of this project. I have decided to participate as well as I have battled body issues my entire life.
"Photography is much more than taking commercial photographs that clients order or pay us to take. No matter what our professions are, we all have the power to make a difference within our communities.
With Everyday Heroes, I would like to put a spotlight on those ordinary individuals who do or did something extraordinary.
I have decided to launch Everyday Heroes with "Body Issues" as the first ever project, hopefully out of many more to come. Through photographs we will tell various stories of individuals within the LGBTQI community in Malta.
I have spent eleven years living in the UK where I completely avoided the gay scene and like a hermit, stayed indoors in the safety bubble of my small apartment.
Living in Malta and being exposed to a much smaller community helped me to open the doors and unleashed possibilities I never dreamt of. More importantly it made me want to be included and explore the lgbtqi community more.
When I was growing up, around the age of fifteen when I entered puberty I just knew right away that I was different to other classmates. I didn't know any gay people back then, as they were often used as a source of ridicule or entertainment mainly in the media. Words such as "gay" but in a much nastier versions were, and are still primarily used as swear words in the country where I am from.
I'm pretty sure that I was surrounded by other gay people, but I'm also pretty sure that same as me, they were hiding most of their lives.
This was one of reasons I left Slovakia and sought acceptance in the UK.
It was hard growing up and not being able to experience first love, first kiss or first sexual experience the way other straight friends and kids my age were experiencing. What was even harder was the fact I was not being able to talk about it freely with anybody.
I felt like a weirdo a freak and whilst I wasn't out, many made fun of my mannerism, the way I talked or acted. Sadder was however, that I had nobody to confide in, who would tell me I'm normal and I have nothing to be ashamed of.
Through my portraits I will tell stories of people like myself, who went through similar and even more difficult experiences. Body Issues are just the tip of the iceberg - there are many more things I would like to feature.
Art is a tool which can be used in many different ways. I'm hoping that the portraits we capture will help others to find their ground and show them that if nobody else is listening, we are 📷"
After all... everyone is a hero!
- Mr V