For the past seven years,dutch photographer Hellen van Meene has concentrated on producing intimate portraits of adolescents. Her models are most often girls (and the occasional boy) she approaches on the street – some of whom continue to model for van Meene, reappearing in her work at different stages in their development. Though the introspective gazes of her models suggest that these are spontaneous, private moments in the lives of her subjects, the carefully considered natural light, lush colors and textures, and striking compositions betray van Meene’s hand in choreographing each image down to the finest detail. Yet these picturesque qualities are undercut by a disquieting tension: the models are placed in awkward, seemingly uncomfortable poses: their clothes are illfitting, or inside-out; one girl is asked to lie in a cold bath, fully clothed; another models a fresh bruise. This highly intimate collaboration between the photographer and her models simultaneously exposes the uncertain nature of adolescent identities and the complicated act of capturing them on film.
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