Hellen Van Meene – Task 1 – Self Portrait Research

I love Hellen Van Meenes work. It’s the lighting which I’m so interested in, how in every photograph there’s different sources of light and it makes the images so strong. Within my research I found it interesting to learn that she was taking photographs from the age of 15 when she received her first camera and like most girls that age, she began shooting images of girls her age. When she was 18 she began to study photography in Amsterdam and twenty years later she is still taking images of 15 year old girls. It came to my interest that Van Meene is fascinated by the variety of faces, she isn’t interested in the standard beauty but instead likes to draw her attention to the beauty that is just beginning to exist. She likes to focus on the girls who are insecure, who aren’t ‘stylish’ or classed as ‘pretty’.
I found her work to question my idea of beauty, because even though the girls in her photographs wouldn’t usually be classed as beautiful, somehow whether the way in which Van Meene creates the images, I am able to look past this and see the beautiful side of each girl. I do think this has a lot to do with the lighting within the photographs, she has said about her own work how the natural light forces her to concentrate more on the model and to see how the light approaches the girl and how it naturally falls on her face.
She will only use natural lighting throughout all of her photographs, and she also only uses film.
I have been so inspired by Van Meenes work because one of my passions is documentary work, and I prefer the natural side to photography rather than studio work, which is why I love her work so much.

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