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Photographer's Showcase: L'Enfant-Femme

The Photographer's Showcase is please to announce a new portfolio for Rania Matar L'Enfant-Femme
Youmna 11, Beirut Lebanon from L'Enfant-Femme -- Rania Matar
Matar’s new body of work continues her investigation into the psyche of the teenage girl, this time focusing on even younger women, girls on the cusp between childhood and their teenage years. Photographing young women from the United States and Matar’s native Lebanon, the images depict girls of varying backgrounds -- from privileged Boston homes to the residents of Lebanese refugee camps -- yet the locations are inconsequential. As the images pass before one’s eyes they become harder to place geographically, and prove the universality of life at this juncture -- what stands out are the similarities between the girls. Some are vulnerable, others defiant, yet all portray the uniqueness of their age, the in between years, the age of transition from child to young adult.

Ayah 9, Beirut Lebanon, Molly, Brookline MA, and Juliette 10, Arlington MA from L'Enfant-Femme -- Rania Matar
Life is full of transitions, but perhaps at no other time in a person's life is the rapid mental progression so linked to their changing physicality. The anger and pleasure, confusion and discomfort, awkwardness and maturity of this age are simultaneously visible. Matar approaches her subjects with one instruction — don’t smile. From there, the girl is left to pose and arrange herself as she will, leaving her to present herself to the camera in a way of her choosing. This simple direction yields impressive results and we witness these girls struggle to present themselves, attempting to bridge the gap between childhood and the start of sexual maturity. It is easy to see both the past and future in these images — the girls become remarkably readable in poses that are intentional but nevertheless telling -- both the child they are growing out of and the coming adult are visible, coexisting in the frame.

Ellice, Jamaica Plain, MA 2010 from A Girl and Her Room-- Rania Matar
photo-eye is also releasing a new edit of Matar’s A Girl and Her Room portfolio, which is soon to be published in a book from Umbrage Editions. In this series, Matar established herself as a keen and sympathetic observer of young women, producing images that depict girls at an age of transition into adulthood in the one space they control themselves. I remember the importance of my bedroom at that age — and even my dorm room in college. There were totems of my self expression that made it into every space, and these rooms were as much a free expression of my personhood — if not at times more so — than my style and demeanor. They are a way to begin the exploration of self-expression, a way to fall into a personal identity of adulthood. -- Sarah Bradley 

See Rania Matar's L'Enfant-Femme and A Girl and Her Room portfolios here

A Girl and Her Room from Umbrage Editions is due in May of this year. Both signed and unsigned copies are available for pre-order here.

For more information on Matar's work, please contact photo-eye Gallery Associate Director Anne Kelly by email or by calling the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202

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