Lillian Birnbaum, born in New York and raised in Europe, has won international acclaim as a portrait photographer. Her book Vier Frauen (Four Women), with its staged portraits of German actresses Hanna Schygulla, Barbara Sukowa, Katharina Thalbach, and Sunnyi Melles, attracted a great deal of attention.
The diary-like photographs in her new project, Transition, taken over a period of five years, depict a group of young girlsat a lake near New York in the summer heat, for instance, in the parks and gardens of Paris, or in southern landscapes. While Birnbaums subtle power of observation is attuned to the phenomenon of childhood, it also examines the initial awakening of an as-yet-undefined femininity: an interplay of innocence and allure that is revealed on the path from childhood to adolescence. The camera itself becomes an element in the lives of these girls, a kind of accomplice to the act of self-discovery, of forging their own identity as women.
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