A Lebanese Photographer Takes Cross-Cultural Portraits of Girls on the Brink of Womanhood
Series: Unspoken Conversations Brushing out my daughter’s dark silken hair before the mirror I see the grey gleaming on my head, the silver-haired servant behind her. Why is it just as we begin to go they begin to arrive, the fold in my neck clarifying as the fine bones of her hips sharpen? As my skin shows its dry pitting, she opens like a small pale flower on the tip of a cactus; as my last chances to bear a child are falling through my body, the duds among them, her full purse of eggs, round and firm as hard-boiled yolks, is about to snap its clasp. I brush her tangled fragrant hair at bedtime. It’s an old story - the oldest we have on our planet - the story of replacement. — Sharon Olds While I had been photographing teenage girls in A Girl and Her Room, pre-pubescent girls in L’Enfant-Femme, and adult women in Women Coming of Age, I found myself gradually including both mother and daughter in the same photograph. My focus shifted from the singular individual to the collective, combining and cumulative. Casual glances, hand gestures, subtle shifts in body language, physical closeness (or lack thereof), shared embarrassments, vulnerability, and admissions of uncertainties became the focus of the photographs. The glances and the emotions of the individual are combined within a single frame, conveying simultaneously the personal and the universality of the complex mother and daughter relationship. The work is a collaborative dialogue that explores the complexity of female maker to female subject, and of womanhood on each side of the camera - a spoken and unspoken conversation.
Image rights: Rania Matar
Pictura Gallery presents Becoming, portraits by Rania Matar of girls and women from Lebanon and the United States. Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. Although originally an architect, she became a photographer after 9-11 because she wanted to tell a different story of the Middle East.
Pictura’s exhibit will showcase multiple bodies of work by Matar, each centered on the universality of being a girl and growing up. Her work is a collaborative dialogue that explores the complexity of female maker to female subject, and of womanhood on each side of the camera.
Lebanese, b. 1964, Beirut, Lebanon, based in Massachusetts, United States