Project Statement

Becoming is the natural continuation of L’Enfant-Femme, a series of portraits of pre-teen girls and how they interact with the camera. Whereas in L’Enfant-Femme, I had photographed girls right before puberty, a very fleeting moment in a girl’s life, I am photographing them here a few years later as they transformed into young women. Whereas the changes are intensely personal and individual, there is universality to the biological transformations taking place, as girls grow up and see their body transform. I believe that the variety of transformations one observes in the photographs cumulatively represent what each young woman is going (or went) through. Some girls, who were confident and self-assured at 9 or 10, look more reserved and self-conscious at 12 and 13. Others, who looked awkward at 10, seem confident embracing their emerging womanhood.

The photographs here are 2 individual images but intended to be viewed side by side, so one can observe the many layers of emotions and bodily expressions within each photograph. Often some detail of the body language says something, and the gaze – or another part of the body – hints to something else. A beautiful combination of confidence and awkwardness, of growing up into a woman while still remaining a girl.

I let the girls choose what to wear and how to present themselves. The only instruction I gave them was not to smile. These young women have perfected the “selfie” attitude. By photographing them with a medium format film camera (they cannot see the image on the back of the camera) and asking them not to smile, I am taking them slightly out of their comfort zone and they end up taking the photo session more seriously, revealing something deeper and more personal – away from the “selfie” rehearsed attitude.

This work addresses the states of ‘Becoming’ – puberty, growing up, vulnerability, bodily fragility, body image, strength, imperfection, femininity. While still looking to reveal the individuality of each young woman who poses before me, I also emphasize the underlying similarities rather than the apparent differences of growing up.