Hellen Can Meene – New Work

© Hellen Van Meene

Hellen Van Meene, dutch photographer, explored the idea of how pubescent teenagers embarking on a new chapter in their lives where they are to establish themselves in the world: the awakening as it were. The debate over teenage pregnancy is poignant in the series too and changing bodies.


© Hellen Van Meene


© Hellen Van Meene


© Hellen Van Meene

What strikes me most with her work however, is the use of natural lighting. How shadows of the window panes and branches are cast onto the subject. There is a very personal aspect to the children in their bedrooms as the viewer has an insight into their private space, which in a sense, they are yet to make their own. There does seem to be a bleak atmosphere that she creates in these images as though what the young people are about to embark upon is nothing fruitful. The child cowering in the corner of the room portrays a sense of vulnerability, insecurity and a reluctance to want to move forward through to growing up. This series took four years to shoot and curate; over different countries including Japan.

What I also like about Van Meene’s work is how she uses light to illuminate objects such as the sofa and this vase; again using light from outside to illuminate the inside spaces.

Hellen Van Meene

In my work, I do not want to create this saddening thought of changing bodies and growing up; which is what I get from her images here, but I would like to use a similar lighting technique of how light illuminates personal spaces.

5 thoughts on “Hellen Can Meene – New Work

  1. This set is thought provoking, it’s brilliant. And you’re right; the use of natural lighting is beautiful. Do you use any websites to find photographers or do you get introduced to them through your course?

    1. She is a stunning photographer- sadly my university doesn’t have any of her work in the library. However, no, yesterday we had group crit and one of my lecturers suggested I looked at her work, Joel Sternfeld and Joel Meyerowitz (both of which I’m already familiar with). Pretty exciting project Amy!! How did your Photography exam go?

      1. I’ll make sure I look at those too 🙂 I’m really liking the project you’re working on at the moment, the summer one? You always find such brilliant photographers to reference, I could read your work endlessly!

        Thanks Kate, I think it went pretty well. Everything’s printed and ready to go on the wall, so I’ll just have to wait and see I guess. I’m in the process of uploading my finshed photos from both projects, you’ll be able to see the rest soon 🙂

      2. I am super excited to see these! I saw a few of the ones where you have replaced people with landscapes. I really like that idea. Pretty interesting. I’d like to come and see all your work when it’s up! Please get Hull Dogg to let me know when I can come. I will be back at the end of the month and I can see!

      3. The GCSE work is up at the minute, so I’ll let you know as soon as all our stuff goes up 🙂 There’ll be the A2 exhibition at some point, so I’ll ask when that will be this year… if it’s too late, I’m sure you’ll be able to nip during school hours 🙂

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