/ Mayya Kelova / Photo story


Forgiving is a return to traumatic memories and experience that I endured in my first romantic relationship more than a decade ago.

Unprocessed, my trauma manifested in PTSD along with guilt and self-blame. By digitally manipulating images, I reshape and rework my archival materials to undo the simplified reality those photographs represent. And through the photographs of my body parts that often experience PTSD manifestations, I am restoring the connection between the events and the emotional upheaval.

Being a spectator and a subject, I allow myself to look at the pain from an intimate distance to dissect the biggest challenge, which is to forgive myself.

This project is a history of my own voice, from the moment I lost it to the process of regaining it.

Mayya Kelova is a photographer from Turkmenistan based in Tbilisi, Georgia. With a background in advocacy, particularly for women’s rights and minority rights, Mayya explores topics such as trauma, identity, and migration. Her photography work and film have been showcased in the UK, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.