Manuela Thames is a fine art photographer residing in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Originally from Germany, she moved to the U.S. in 2004 when she married her American husband. Her background is in nursing and alternative health, but around 2008 she began to focus solely on photography following two life-changing events within one year: the death of her brother and the birth of her first son. Her work consists largely of self-portraits as she aims to explore the brokenness of humanity, the struggles of loss and grief, and her personal experiences with generational trauma and mental health. Within this work, she also explores the human ability of coping, the strength that evolves out of suffering, and our common desire for healing and a journey towards wholeness.
This happens when I have been alone too long—the words start to leak out of everything and they will not stop. I cannot look around, I cannot take a single step, without it becoming prose, and it is not welcome. It thrusts me into a place where language imposes this acute separation between me and everything else—leaks its ink out of the bark, the pavement, the sky, flowing directly from itself to me in the form of a stream of words, and it will not let me rest.
TEXT BY IRENA DRAGAŠ JANSEN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MANUELA THAMES
As I observe the global pandemic unfold from the comforts and safety of my Washington, D.C., metro area home, I am transported back to the basement shelters where my parents, sister, relatives, neighbors, and I hid from the daily deadly mortar attacks during the most recent war in Croatia.
TEXT AND PHOTOS BY MANUELA THAMES AND BECKY SCHAUER
The specifics of the controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline dominated news cycles last fall, but now we bring you reflections from behind the scenes at Standing Rock where our contributors learned much from their Native American hosts. Regardless of your position toward the pipeline, we hope you’ll listen and learn universal lessons along with Becky and Manuela.