Miss Impossible

Switzerland is rich with beauty contests: Miss Russian Switzerland, Miss Polefitness, Miss Autoemotionen, Miss Bikini, Miss Bern-Ost, Miss Handicap or Miss Cambodia and many others.

Martin Guggisberg (CH) “Miss Impossible”

Swiss photographer Martin Guggisberg documents the participants of these events, shows them backstage, on the stage, but he also looks at the experts, juries and ourselves, the observers. The photographs, shot between 2006 and 2011, are pitiless time documents, which show the Miss cult and its iconography over the peak of its time. But the title of the series – “Miss impossible”- suggests us, that this will not be an ode to beauty.

As a freelance photographer Martin Guggisberg was sent by Swiss Sunday paper to make reportage about Miss election. Later he was asked to shoot misses few more times. Guggisberg developed a fascination and something like a little addiction to Miss elections, because what he found there seemed quite unbelievable. “I never had a particular connection to such events, but there’s so incredibly much happening on such little room, so much coming together, it is as if you look at society through a magnifying glass, a society in which the selling of yourself at any cost has become life’s main significance.”

Martin Guggisberg (CH) “Miss Impossible”

For many years the election of Miss Switzerland was one of the most prominent of this kind of event of the year, where meets relatively real riches, relatively real fame and a free car (if only a small one). Even though all these elections are regional and the winners only gain local status, it is an opportunity for these women to get themselves talked about, to get themselves noticed. Dramaturgy and choreography of all these elections follow similar patterns: catwalk runs of the candidates, film portraits, Powerpoint slide shows, a statement about the state of the world, gigs of local music bands and bawling provincial jurors. Switzerland is a small country and its celebrity scene is very limited, also never had a kingdom. It might be a reason why they are looking for beauty kings and queens. Unfortunately, here the queen can not give orders, but has to carry out the most stupid whims of others.

Glamour and disgust are always very close at this kind of events: participants with too much make-up, leather clothes, by braces jailed smile, bikinis adorned beauties scratching theirs ass – all this is in Guggisberg’s shots and tells us about real life, which is not always pretty even in beauty contests.

Martin Guggisberg (CH) “Miss Impossible”

Martin Guggisberg

was born in 1971 in Bern, Switzerland. Freelance photographer and filmmaker based in Zürich. A graduate from the London Film School, he directed over 12 short films, among others The Flasher from Grindelwald (study award Federal Office of Culture), Operation Adios (appreciation award of Canton Bern), Der Skifahrer (nominated for Prado di Domani, Locarno Film Festival), Der Filmbringer (2011), Buumes (2012). Scriptwriting for feature film projects.

Freelance work as a photographer for daily newspapers and magazines (publications in Vogue – Entertaining & Travel, Austraila, Elle Decoration, UK, and Eigen Huis & Interior, Holland, among others) as well as jobs within the private sector. Collaboration with the Agency Bergdorf AG in Zürich.

In 2006 he and Ruth Schwegler founded the production company “so&so” gmbh in Zürich. Miss is his first book publication.