Those are images from 2 separate portfolios both related to teenage girls.
The first four images are part of the body of work titled "A Girl and Her Room" portraying the older teen in her private space, her cocoon: the bedroom, and the last two part of a project in progress portraying the younger teen, her body language and her attitude to the camera and is titled "L'Enfant-Femme" (the Child-Woman)
As a mother of teenage daughters, I watch their passage from girlhood into adulthood, fascinated with the transformation taking place, the adult personality taking shape, and a gradual self-consciousness replacing the carefree world they had known and lived in so far. I started photographing them and their girlfriends and quickly realized how aware they were of each other's presence, and how much the group affected the identity they were portraying to the world. From this recognition the idea of photographing each girl alone, by herself, emerged.
In the beginning I asked the girls to chose where they wanted to be photographed. A number of them chose their bedrooms, and it was then I realized the nexus of the project A Girl and Her Room. The room was a metaphor, an extension of the girl, but also the girl seemed to be part of the room, to fit in, just like everything else in the material and emotional space.
L'Enfant-Femme (the Child-Woman) includes portraits of young teens and pre-teens and how they interact with the camera. This work was inspired by A Girl and Her Room where the focus was on the older teen within her private space, and simultaneously by my thirteen-year-old daughter, who was transforming before my eyes, alternating between being the little girl I know and the young woman I don't know yet. In this project, the focus is on the younger girl, her expressions, her gestures, and her body language instead of the space she occupies.
Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. Originally trained as an architect at the American University of Beirut and at Cornell University, she studied photography at the New England School of Photography and the Maine Photographic Workshops. She teaches photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She also teaches photography in the summers to teenage girls in Lebanon's refugee camps with the assistance of non-governmental organizations and regularly offers talks, class visits and lectures at museums, galleries, schools and colleges in the US and abroad.
Matar's work focuses mainly on girls and women. Earlier projects recorded the lives of women and children in the Middle East, and over the past three years she has completed A Girl and Her Room and started a new project L'Enfant-Femme. Her work has won several awards, has been featured in numerous publications, and exhibited widely in the U.S. and internationally. Her images are in the permanent collections of several museums worldwide.
Her first book titled Ordinary Lives was released October 2009, published by the Quantuck Lane Press and distributed by W.W. Norton. Rania's latest monograph, A Girl and Her Room, with essays by Anne Tucker and Susan Minot, published by Umbrage Editions was released in May 2012.
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