HELLEN VAN MEENE – DUTCH PHOTOGRAPHER

She was born in 1972 in Alkmaar and became a portrait photographer at early age. Since 1994 she has been taking photos of adolescent girls and occasionally boys. She aims to show the development phase when a girl becomes a women and a boy a man. It is a period where youngsters do not always feel well in their skin, are very self-critical and often have a low self-esteem. Her pictures show pure and innocent boys and girls with pimples or bruises. She does not bring them to perfection, she only portraits the reality. You are able to see their hope and melancholy in their faces. They are dreaming of their future, what is going to happen and what their task would be in the adult world, on their way of finding themselves.

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Van Meene developed her photography style at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the early 1990s. She travelled to Japan, England, Latvia and Russia to do more portraits of teens. Every picture is a reflection of her own experiences and memories of puberty. She does not use professional models, normal and average girls and boys are what she searches for.

In my opinion van Meene is an important artist in this day and age. In an era of supermodels and the pursuit of perfection it is important to support photographers who distance themselves from this perfect world and show the everyday reality. Especially for teenagers in puberty it is fundamental to grow up without wrong expectations of beauty and idealism. It is normal to have pimples, changing bodies and mental breakdowns. Puberty is a huge identity crisis that everyone has to experience and deal with.

I really like her pictures and the atmosphere in them. I think I can identify with the portrayed girls and remember my own puberty and what I felt. Her work is great and should be more popular.03920205150804130137-hellen-van-meene-3-super-43

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