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A series of portraits of fifteen year old girls from across Thanet, created for the POW Festival 2020
In a series of hand drawn pencil portraits of fifteen year old girls from across Thanet, I have attempted to convey the complex aspects of this vulnerable age.
Caught between childhood and adulthood, the challenge was to capture both their experience and innocence in one black and white image.
Even within this small island of Thanet, the experiences of each fifteen year old are vastly different, individually moulding each child and setting them on their unique path to adulthood.
The hyper-reality of the portraits and unflinching pose of each subject challenge the viewer to see how much of that unique journey can be read from their face.
I wanted the images to have a grimy, flawed appearance, hauntingly lit, with fleshy, gritty, oily, flaky textures, leaving the subject exposed to scrutiny. This vulnerability is then countered by the confident stance, mirroring the complex layers of the person behind each portrait.
It was important for the portraits not to be too photorealistic close up, but for the myriad pencil strokes to be fully visible. This allows the confrontational pose, and tactile realism of the model, to break down as the viewer gets closer - shattering the intimate moment shared between model and viewer, and reducing the subject to simple marks on paper.