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.
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.
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.