Terms and Conditions
Welcome to TONGUES, provided by Voodoo Voodoo Ltd (“we”, “us”, “our”). Access to and use of this website (“TONGUES”) is provided by us on the basis of a number of important terms and conditions, which are set out in full below.
You should carefully read these terms and conditions (“terms”). When you use TONGUES, you will be legally bound by these terms, which will take effect from your first use of TONGUES. If you do not agree to be legally bound by these terms, then you should not use TONGUES>.
These terms apply generally to the use of TONGUES. Any facility (“Comment Facility”) that we may make accessible to you through TONGUES, enabling you to post messages, comments, information, material or content (a “Contribution”), may have additional special terms attached. If and when a Comment Facility becomes available, you will need to read and agree to be legally bound by those special terms before you post a Contribution or use those sections. If you do not agree to be legally bound by those special terms then you will not be able to post a Contribution.
TONGUES is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in a country where that distribution or use would be contrary to local laws or regulations.
Changes to Terms
We are continually seeking to update and improve TONGUES. As a result, we may make changes to TONGUES, including these terms, at any time. You will need to review these terms regularly so that you are aware of any changes we have made. You will be legally bound by the updated or amended terms from the first time that you use TONGUES after we post the changes on-line.
The rights in materials, images, information, data, trade marks, trade names and logos and other content included on TONGUES (“TONGUES content”) are are owned by us or the relevant third party content owner. All rights are reserved and acknowledged. As TONGUES content is protected by a variety of third party rights, you may not copy, adapt, re-publish, make available to the public or print off copies of TONGUES content in any way, or use it other than as part of TONGUES and for your personal non-commercial use, without our prior written permission.
Information which we provide through TONGUES is in outline for information or entertainment purposes only. You should not rely on it.
Third party websites
We do not monitor the content of third party websites and any link provided on TONGUES is solely for your convenience. We cannot therefore accept any responsibility for any third party website. You are responsible for checking and complying with the terms and privacy policies applicable to your use of any third party website.
The extent of our responsibility to you has been determined in the context of the following:
access to TONGUES is provided to you free of charge;
it is your responsibility to determine the suitability of any TONGUES content for any particular purpose to which you wish to put it;
TONGUES does not give instructions and you are responsible for any action or decision you take or do not take as a result of TONGUES content;
It is your responsibility to ensure that your equipment is enabled with appropriate up-to-date virus checking software before you access or use TONGUES.
Whilst we will endeavour to ensure that TONGUES is available to you and that content for which we are responsible is accurate, we cannot make any legal commitment or representation to you that TONGUES will be available at any particular time or that it or any TONGUES content will be of any particular quality or fit for any particular purpose. However, we will exercise reasonable skill and care in providing any service to you.
We can accept no liability to you for any of the following types of loss (should you suffer any of them as a result of your use of TONGUES):
loss which was not foreseeable to you and us when you first accessed or registered to use TONGUES (even if that loss results from the our failure to comply with these terms or our negligence);
any business loss you may suffer, including loss of revenue, profits or anticipated savings (whether those losses are the direct or indirect result of our default);
loss which you suffer other than as a result of our failure to comply with these terms or our negligence or breach of statutory duty;
any loss suffered due to the default of any party other than us.
We do not give any commitment that TONGUES or any TONGUES content will be available uninterrupted or error free, that defects will be corrected, or that TONGUES or its supporting systems are free of viruses or bugs.
We can accept no liability to you if we fail, or are interrupted or delayed in the performance of any obligation because of:
the non-availability or failure of any telecommunications or computer services, systems, equipment or software operated or provided by you or any third party;
any other event not reasonably within our control.
We do not give any commitments or accept any liability to you in respect of TONGUES content provided by other users of the website or third parties other than us.
Nothing in these terms will limit our liability for death or personal injury arising from our negligence.
To the extent that we are practically able to do so, we may terminate your access to any part of TONGUES at any time without notice if you breach any of the terms.
If any of these terms are determined to be illegal, invalid or otherwise unenforceable then the remaining terms shall remain in full force and effect.
These terms shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. If you are a consumer, then you may have rights to bring court proceedings in the courts of the country in which you are domiciled. Otherwise, to the fullest extent permitted by law, you and we shall bring all court proceedings in the courts of England and Wales.
© TONGUES — An initiative by Voodoo Voodoo Ltd


Privacy & Cookies Policy
The tongues.cc website is operated by Voodoo Voodoo Ltd (‘TONGUES’).
This privacy policy applies to TONGUES.
We want you to enjoy our website and services secure in the knowledge that we have implemented fair information practices to protect your privacy. By visiting our website, you are accepting the practices described in our privacy policy, including our use of cookies and similar online tracking technologies. If you do not agree to the terms of this privacy policy, please do not use the website.
TONGUES may change this policy from time to time by updating this page and you should regularly check to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy was last updated on 11 February 2020.
The policy outlines:
1. General principle
2. How we collect information
3. Types of information we may collect
4. How we use your information
5. How we protect the information we collect
6. Access to your personal information
7. How to contact us
1. General principle
There are two types of information we may collect from you when you use the website: non-personally identifiable information and personally identifiable information. Non-personally identifiable information does not individually identify you, but it may include tracking and usage information about your general location, demographics, use of the website and the internet. Personally identifiable information is information that you voluntarily provide when you set up a user account, subscribe to a newsletter, or query that can individually identify you and may include your name and email address etc.
We do not link non-personally identifiable information to your personally identifiable information.
We do not share either type of information unless required to run the website and services (see third-party services below). We will never sell either type of information.
This privacy policy does not apply to any information collected outside of the website, including offline or through other means (for example, via telephone or through email), unless otherwise stated below or at the time of collection.
2. How we collect information
We collect information when you:
— Ask to be placed on an email newsletter list
Make an enquiry about our services
— Answer a reader survey
— Provide information to us
Links to other websites, social media platforms
Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our website, you should note that we do not have any control over the information that is collected and shared about you. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
You may interact with content on our website through social media platforms we use such as Facebook by using their social features. Examples of social features include ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ our content. We encourage you to review their policies before using their tools, which can be found at their respective websites. If you’d prefer that these social media platforms do not collect information about the content you share and use, we suggest that you don’t use their tools.
3. Types of information we may collect
The types of information we may collect includes:
— Account information (email address)
— Information you provide through a TONGUES reader survey which might include age range, education level etc
TONGUES is not responsible for any information you have provided in public areas of our website or on our social media platforms, which may then be viewed by other users.
4. How we use your information
The information we collect may be used to help us:
— Provide services you voluntarily subscribed to such as email newsletters
— Improve the quality of our website
— Promote services to you including advising you of updates or changes to our website and services
— Improve the website through reader surveys and feedback
Disclosure to third-party services
As part of providing our website and services to you we use a limited number of third-party services that perform functions on our behalf, including but not limited to website hosting, server monitoring, tracking user behaviour, marketing automation services, and customer service.
We have no control over, and assume no responsibility for, the conduct, practices or privacy policies of these third-party services and encourage you to read the policies of the services we use below:
TONGUES uses the MailerLite marketing automation service to issue newsletters. Find out more about MailerLite’s Privacy Policy and Terms.
When you subscribe to our email newsletters
By clicking ‘Subscribe’ you agree to the following: 
We will use the email address you provide to send you a weekly or monthly email. We also send occasional updates and, no more than once a year, reader surveys. 
The email address/es you provide will be transferred to our external marketing automation service ‘MailerLite’ for processing in accordance with their Privacy Policy and Terms. We use MailerLite to issue our newsletters. We have no control over, and assume no responsibility for, the conduct, practices or privacy policies of MailerLite
You can change your mind at any time by clicking the ‘unsubscribe link’ in the footer of emails you receive from us, or by contacting us at [email protected]. If you want to review and correct the personal information we have about you, you can click on ‘update preferences’ in the footer of emails you receive from us, or by contacting us at [email protected].
5. How we protect the information we collect
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. We have taken reasonable measures to protect information about you from loss, theft, misuse or unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. No physical or electronic security system is impenetrable however and you should take your own precautions to protect the security of any personally identifiable information you transmit. We cannot guarantee that the personal information you supply will not be intercepted while transmitted to us or third-party service providers. 
Sharing your personal information
We will not disclose your personal information except; (1) as described by this Privacy Policy (2) after obtaining your permission to a specific use or disclosure or (3) if we are required do so by a valid legal process or government request (such as a court order, a search warrant, a subpoena, a civil discovery request, or a statutory requirement). We will retain your information for as long as needed in light of the purposes for which it was obtained or to comply with our legal obligations and enforce our agreements. 
Data transfer
This website is published in the United Kingdom. If you are located in a country outside of these countries and voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us, you should be aware that information about you will be transferred to this countries. We attempt to comply with local data protection laws to the extent that they may apply to TONGUES. 
Age of consent
Our website is not directed at children under the age of 18 and we do not knowingly collect or maintain information from those we know are younger than 18. If you are younger than 18, you should not submit or post any personally identifiable information to our website. By using the Service, you represent that you are at least 18 years of age.
6. Access to your personal information
You may request a copy of the personal information we hold about you by submitting a written request to [email protected]. We may only implement requests with respect to the personal information associated with the particular email address you use to send us the request. We will try and respond to your request as soon as reasonably practical. When you receive the information, if you think any of it is wrong or out of date, you can ask us to change or delete it for you. 
We take all reasonable steps to ensure the information held is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant and not misleading. 
7. Contact us
If you have any questions about our privacy policy or our use of your information, please contact us at [email protected].

Maria Sturm

September 28 / 2020


Listening, engaging and building stories — with an empathetic approach and a curious mind, the Romania-born Maria Sturm has created compelling narratives through her photography. Focusing on identity and the tensions arising from unsupportive social and cultural structures, her work reveals the nuanced details of communities that exist in the intersection of past and future. 

Through her own personal experience, the lingering questions analyse our sense of belonging, perception and acceptance.


Q >What motivated you to start documenting lives with your camera?

A >There wasn’t a key experience that led me to take that decision. I just have always been curious. At age 11, I became curious about the camera and mother gifted me a point and shoot. 

Even though it might seem I am focusing on photographing the lives of others, I don’t follow a protocol. I get inspired through conversation and then I follow my curiosity. I can get similarly obsessed about a piece of bend glass as I did about the Birdmen of Istanbul. 

I have often taken refuge in the clichéd image of the photographer-as-storyteller. The more I think about this, the more I distrust the adage that a photograph is either telling a story or suggesting a truth. I am more attracted to uncovering interesting questions than to documentation. I am interested in multifaceted photographs, which, while playful, will inspire a story in a person’s mind that helps unearthing universal truths.

Q >What’s the most satisfying part of the creative / documenting process?

A >Listening, learning and being present or essentially the conversation that evolves from engaging with a certain topic. And especially when the conversation is nurturing all parties.

Q >Is work personal to you? Do you keep your work separate from your personal life?

A >My work is personal to me yes but it is definitely not separate from my personal life, it’s the opposite. I also wouldn’t say that I’m different when I work. One body, one mind.

Q >Tell us about moments in your life that helped define or change your identity.

A >I was born in Romania and came to Germany when I was 5 with my mother. Growing up, I was often asked where I came from. As a teenager, and until my twenties, I recall saying “I come from this city”. I was suspicious of the questioner wanting to know about my heritage, telling myself that they were asking me because I looked “different”. I was proven to be right, for the person that was asking, followed up with, “No, I meant where are you really from?” Sometimes this bothered me. Sometimes I did not want to tell because I didn’t want to be any different from anybody else: I am at first a person, not any different than you. I am my mother’s daughter and my grandmother’s child. Why does it matter where I am from? It probably did not even matter to them as they were most likely asking out of curiosity. I should understand this as I am curious, myself, and always have been. For as long as I can remember, I have always asked a lot of questions. Because of this, I became a listener and, I think, a photographer.

Q >Tell us a disturbing or inspiring story you refuse to forget.

A >I had a strong accent when I first learned German; my mother tongue is Romanian (my mother took me to Germany when I was 5). As a child, I was frequently asked: “Please say something with R, Maria, you roll the R so beautifully.” I felt intimidated and mumbled something. Then I got rid of it. I did not force myself to lose the accent, rather, it happened unconsciously. Today I cannot do it anymore, and when I try, it sounds fake. When I speak Romanian I have a German accent now.

I never spoke Romanian again, after we came to Germany. My grandparents, uncle and aunt all spoke only German with me. They were supposed to, and they did, in their heavy accents. Unlike me, they could not just get rid of their accents. But I was constantly exposed to my family speaking Romanian to each other, and I was listening. It felt good when I overcame my timidity and did not care any longer how I sounded, as long as I was able to speak. Ironically, I have a strong German accent when I speak Romanian, which identifies me as a foreigner.

The reception camp we first arrived at had child care, but my mother chose to walk with me 3 kilometres through the woods to bring me to a kindergarten that didn’t have any children with a migration background. These were steps necessary for her to take to secure my chances of speaking accent-free German. She even changed my name, so it wouldn’t sound so I could move into the new world unnoticed and free of any possible stigmas. 

My life is not a classical immigrant child story that is torn between two cultures, neither living fully in one nor the other. I never struggled with finding my own identity. Perhaps this is because I never tried to be something that I am not, or because my mother prepared me to blend in. 

Q >The greatest challenge you’ve overcome?

A >I think it’s yet to come, since I’m expecting my first child any time now. It took me just until recently to talk publicly about it, mostly because of a shared fear with other women — that work as artists or freelance photographers of not getting any jobs anymore once word gets out that one is having a baby. That fear was challenging and frustrating. 

Q >Could you give us an overview of your project ‘You don’t look Native to me’, and tell us which reactions, questions or perception-shifts did you hope to raise in the viewer?

A >The people I met in Pembroke, which is economic, cultural and political centre of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina* all identify as Native American in a country in which being Native is either romanticised or dismissed. They carried their identity on their shirts or on their skin. Tattoos or clothing with Native motifs seem to convey pride, but they also function as proof that they are Native. Unless you are Native yourself, the picture of the “movie Indian” remains what most people know. Even among other Natives, the people of Robeson county have been called not Native enough. This begs the question: what makes you Native? Is it the blood quantum or how close your appearance fits to a preconceived notion of how a Native should look? I was striving to create images that challenge our gridlocked perception and create moments of contradiction that stimulate the viewer’s mind to be aware of the ways in which our perception is working.

My work in general seeks to function as a provocation to view our world as non-binary. I’m hoping that the viewers will be able to abstract and apply this sensitivity to future encounters of any kind: whether they meet a person or come into a situation, they will remember that not everything is how they think it might be. 

*The Lumbee tribe is the largest tribe in North Carolina, the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River, and the ninth-largest in the USA with their 55000 enrolled members. The tribe is recognised by the state of North Carolina, which means they are federally unrecognised and don’t have a reservation or get any financial support from the United States government.

Q >Challenging conversations, introspective moments, inspirational triggers, political views, social shifts: Which topics do you find yourself debating these days?

A >Political views, social shifts and motherhood.


Maria Sturm was born in 1985 in Ploiești, Romania. She has studied photography at the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld, Germany, and at the Rhode Island School of Design as a Fulbright and DAAD scholar. 

Sturm works both on personal projects and commissioned assignments for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, der Stern, NZZ Folio and ZEITmagazin, and as an educator, having taught at Rhode Island School of Design and Berlin Technische Kunsthochschule. She’s part of the artists collective Apparat and together with a handful of friends organises a small music festival in an old train station just outside Berlin on the border to Poland called Alte Liebe rostet nicht.

With her project You don’t look Native to me, Sturm won the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant, Center Santa Fe Directors Choice Award and the Royal Photographic Society Award. It was also shortlisted for PhotoLondon La Fabrica Dummy Award, Kassel Dummy Award and made the 2nd place at Unseen Dummy Award and published in the British Journal of Photography, D La Repubblica, Refinery29 and Lensculture.

Lumbee Street in downtown Pembroke, NC. In an attempt to gain federal recognition the Lumbee name was voted for in 1952 to unite all tribes living in and around Robeson County. The idea was to form a conglomerate, so the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) wouldn‘t ignore a large group of people petitioning for recognition. The tribe's attempt to gain federal recognition failed because the BIA stated that, because the Lumbees existed only since the 50s, it can‘t be proved that they existed in pre-colonial times.

Patricia, Mescal and Frankie in front of their house in Pembroke, North Caroline. Mescal's father, Reggie, is leading the culture class in town, teaching about the Native ways, dancing and singing and drumming, and the philosophy underpinning this. Mescal is 19, and has two daughters: Kassidy (4) and Frankie, who‘s just a few months old. Patricia (15) is Mescal's cousin.

Robeson County has a population of 134,576 people with a median age of 35.6 and a median household income of $31,298. The county is the poorest and most violent county in North Carolina. From the '90s and the 2000s, most of the industry had left (e.g. Converse in Lumberton, where mostly Lumbee Indians worked).

(Left) Daniel in front of his parents house in St. Pauls, North Carolina, identifies as Lumbee. | (Right) Justin and Tristin regularly attend culture class, and travel with their drum group to several pow-wow throughout the year and compete in singing competitions. Tristin is also a very talented rapper, writing songs about his life in Robeson County or Robco (as locals call it). He just became a father.

(Left) Cherokee, who identifies as Lumbee, lives in Strickland Heights in Pembroke, a social housing project with a bad reputation. I was waiting for him to go to the barber shop. Men go to the barber almost weekly (and these are among the few business still running in Robeson County). Many of these barber shops allegedly sustain themselves through drug dealing. | (Right) Reflection on a pick-up truck‘s car mirror, parked just outside of Red Springs

Kaya Littletrutle identifies both as Lumbee and Tuscarora. He learned the old ways from the his grandfather Ray Littleturtle. Before the Cultural Site reopened for public, we went there and had a chat. He‘s leading the Culture Class with Reggie and works for the Tribe.

Chief Iron Bear Harold Collins is holding some world records as a strong man. He identifies as Cherokee, lives in Pembroke and runs a gym called Power House; this is its entrance. When the Converse plant was still running, Harold produced his signature style Chuck Taylor shoe, which has Lumbee written on it along with his actual signature.

This is Adrian holding my hand. He was happy we took this picture, because he could show this image to the police after being robbed of his rings and cash. Adrian, who identifies as Lumbee, was wearing his Indian chief ring with pride. His identity manifests in symbols like this.