Dear Stranger,

thank you for picking up my letter. I’m not sure if I really wanted it to be found, but I’m glad you did.

I wish I was not shy. Do you know how to disappear in a room? Does your body feel large or small compared to the other people in it? Do they have to keep asking you to repeat what you just said because your voice gets stuck somewhere between your stomach and your throat?

Hereby, I invite you into my shell. It’s not like I ever seriously tried to break out of it, but I kept being told to do so and I never felt comfortable about hiding either. Inviting you in does not feel much less scary than coming out myself, but the courage needed for it is another one.

I want to find out if shyness can be a strength. I am going to use it as a tool to make myself vulnerable and invite strangers like you to take part in it. Hopefully, we will embarrass ourselves, playing this game of performing my anxieties I thought of. At least we will be able to be honest about our discomfort. I already dread you knocking on my front door, I will probably be nervous all day hoping for you to cancel, wondering about which card you are going to pick. Still, I want to believe that there is something beautifully human to be found in a red glowing blush and sweaty, shaking hands. Will you help me find out?

If you are interested to meet me, please send me a message.

Best wishes, Lilli



I am wondering, if shyness has a right and a place to exist. Do we only experience it as a problem, because of what our society chooses to view as “normal behavior”? What are the advantages of being shy? Art is quite an obvious area that comes to mind, in which introverted, thoughtful, solitude-seeking people can flourish and show their strengths. The idea of working in solitude, behind closed doors, to create work that expresses all the things I am not able to speak out loud sounds wonderful to me, and I probably use my photographic work in this way somehow. But does this mean that the art world is full of shy people? Who are they? And how do they deal with everything besides creating art, that is part of being a successful artist? As a photographer, who works mainly with portraiture, the romantic notion of creating in the comforting company of nobody but myself, does not exactly apply either. In fact, most of my images I shoot while being far out of my comfort zone. And I like it. This role I can play with the camera in my hands, allows me to create a space, where breaking out of my shell feels natural. Instead of only being a refuge for the shy, art might be a tool to handle shyness as well.

In my thesis, I explore these ideas and question our view on shyness, by reflecting on my own experiences as well as examples from both, the art world and everyday life. I read about other people’s blushes and compare them to my own, find out where this feeling might come from and where it can be used to flourish, not to hide. Without disregarding the serious pain and struggles that come with it, my main goal is to find a way to turn the idea of shyness into something empowering, into a strength, not a sickness. I do not want to find a way out of the shell, but rather explore the possibilities that are hidden inside.