The World of Marwencol

Mark Hogancamp’s world is a constant struggle to stay afloat in reality. His traumatic beating outside a bar scarred him for life. Coping with life made the reclusive photographer create Marwencol, a safe environment where he is in control of. The tragic genesis of this fantasy world is sad but a study of human self examination at the same time. Mark Hogancamp is both creator and destroyer in his world and we as voyeurs get to experience a troubled person trying to find his way back into society that shunned and beat him down to the ground.

After being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men outside a bar, Mark built a 1/6th scale World War II-era town in his backyard. Mark populated the town he dubbed “Marwencol” with dolls representing his friends and family and created life-like photographs detailing the town’s many relationships and dramas. Playing in the town and photographing the action helped Mark to recover his hand-eye coordination and deal with the psychic wounds from the attack. Through his homemade therapy, Mark was able to begin the long journey back into the “real world”, both physically and emotionally – something he continues to struggle with today.