2015 - 2017
"Lydia Panas...has achieved much acclaim and recognition for the penetrating, even haunting, power of her portraiture...
Her portraits reside on a finely-tuned edge. Her subjects are remarkably open and unguarded... they reflect the vulnerability
of our longing for connection with others and the powerful feelings that arise from exposing our fragile truths to another without
even a hint of sentimentality. And they show the tenuous, enduring beauty of the human condition with a clear gaze and without any
kind of cliche." David Ulrich, The Slender Thread
”Looking at each of the individual women in Panas’ images, we gain some semblance of the quiet acts of tender labor women perform for one another through touch. Grasping hands to shoulders, tucking a head under a chin, or leaning into an embrace are the actions of the
everyday, yet Panas shows how significant these seemingly benign gestures can be.”
Kate Kelley, Silver Eye Center for Photography
I invited women I know to pose for me, with people upon whom they depend. The pictures
attempt to depict the tenuous nature of relationships. Navigating hopes and fears, ambitions and
vulnerabilities, much of what we feel goes unspoken. I am interested in the uncomfortable conversations,
the uncertainty, and what we hold back from one another, despite a universal need to be connected.
Below, are a few of their answers.
After the shoot, I asked the models - What does love feel like?
"Love feels extreme and full of contradiction. It's both safe and terrifying, comforting and uncomfortable,
frustrating and satisfying. It's the absence of all reason and the presence of all emotion. Without it we
are empty; with it we are bursting."
"Love is somehow omnipresent and an enigma; it is something that fills my life, and evades me. I feel love give the smallest
moments, every breath almost, meaning and purpose. Maybe that is unconditional, or universal love. But the messy, imperfect,
personal love between any two people is pure mystery. Maybe it is because love is something that is experience through
falling down and getting back up. Or maybe I haven't quite mastered it. Or, maybe more simply:
"Love is an elusive trifecta of trust, respect and forgiveness."
"I think love in a way it is impossible to describe love. It is one of the core feelings experienced by all human beings
that is too great to be grasped with words. I think the greatest expressions of love are those done unconsciously. Actions
that are natural and impulsive. Genuine love is the deepest level of not only compassion, but also understanding."
"Love is that quiet, almost spiritual space where I see things without my tint of perspective. There is no judging or
figuring out, it is simply seeing the purity of a thing and truly being grateful for all that it is. For me, love is
being at peace - with the world around me and with myself.
"So, I played a fun game with my significant other once given this 'assignment'. I approached him with a sense
of urgency and asked that he speak out loud one word-best word, in his opinion-that described what love is like.
He was quickly instructed to complete the sentence "love is _____________," so that we would
simultaneously answer with somewhat of a gut instinct.
He said "everything". Love is everything.
I said "impossible". Love is impossible.
Haha! I felt this was perfect, in a beautifully frustrating way, because love is the ultimate feat. It can make us feel
so accomplished and sometimes so frustrated. However, no matter which end of the spectrum we're at,
love will always mean the world to us."
All photographs in this series available as 30 x 30" signed, limited edition prints.