Women Coming of Age

Women Coming of Age

Project Statement

I only caught glimpses of you in the glass. Eventually I gave in and found myself staring at myself, reflected. Looking at myself looking back at me. Both of us trying to decipher the face that was in front of us. My eyes seeing me in mine and countless.
— An excerpt from Then She Fell, an immersive theater, based on the story of Alice in Wonderland.

Women Coming of Age focuses on women at a transitional and vulnerable time in their lives: not the teenage years that have been the focus of my work for the past few years, but the other transitional, in-between years: the “middle age” years.

My work focuses on women, transitions, identity, and being in-between. It has its basis in the duality and contradiction of a hyphenated cultural background. I am an American born in Lebanon. I photograph both cultures and each culture’s implied desires and fluctuations of identity. The goal is not to draw a comparison between them but to focus on the universality and essence of being woman.

The choice of subject for this body of work is an organic one. I am a “woman coming of age”, just starting to feel like an adult myself as my older children are entering college and leaving home, my parents are aging, and my roles as mother, wife, and daughter are all being redefined. I have immediate knowledge of how a woman perceives herself and is perceived, and realize that she is often undergoing similar transitions and can be as vulnerable as the young women coming of age that I have been photographing over the past few years. It is not only how a woman sees herself and is seen. It is the fact that she observes herself being observed more critically.

Women Coming of Age presents the proverbial Alice-through-the-looking-glass experience of leaping into the unknown from which there is no turning back. To grow up, grow old [and remain young] are eternal challenges. Women Coming of Age is a record of the female psyche at so-called middle age, in which a woman is depicted, literally and metaphorically, looking at herself being looked at.

The work is self-reflexive and somewhat autobiographical in nature and shows qualities that each woman, on each side of the camera, brings to it.