In her latest series 'She Could Have Been A Cowboy', having its European premiere at Photo London, Anja Niemi continues her investigations of the self. This time she turns the lens to a life lived under the constraints of conformity. Every day her fictional character finds herself trapped in the same pink dress, but what she really wants is to be a cowboy, dressed in fringe and leather, riding horses in the Wild West. Through this series of photographs with multiple layers and possible interpretations, Niemi delivers her most political work to date.
"The story is not really about being a cowboy. It’s about wanting to be another." Anja Niemi
In order to visualize the imaginary world of her character Niemi had to experience it for herself. Alone in a rental car, dressed as a cowboy, Niemi visited and photographed all the places on her character’s annotated maps. She hiked up and down the mountains of America’s national parks and rode a horse on the same field John Wayne filmed one of his famous horse battles. Always trying to be what her character would have wanted, unafraid and unaffected by others.
Niemi continues to work alone, photographing, staging and acting out the characters in all of her images.