Year of Youth 2018

What’s There to Laugh About? These Nuns Have the Answer

Last edited 15th September 2015

What’s There to Laugh About? These Nuns Have the Answer

We live in a time saturated with images. An exhibition opening in England next week, after attracting attention in Germany and Italy. It consists of 50 portraits of Vincentian nuns from the Swabian convent of Untermarchtal, all photographed laughing. That may seem trivial. It isn’t.

The project originated in 2013, when the photographer Andreas Reiner visited Untermarchtal on a job for a newspaper. Having had no exposure to religious, he did not know what to expect. He thought he might find introverted, bitter women. What awaited him was different. He was struck by the Sisters’ wholeness and humanity – and by their joy. This made him thoughtful, especially since most had spent lives engaging closely with human pain. He encountered a rare, precious quality of being. One might sum it up as hope. He wished to capture it in images. He found that its language was laughter. Take a look at some of the beautiful images here.


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