Ilona and maddelena

sandra mehl

2016 - Ongoing


July 2015, Montpellier (South of France), Gély neighbourhood, Unit 26.

It is here, in this working class neighbourhood, close to the centre of Montpellier, that I met, as they walked their dogs, Ilona and Maddelena, two sisters 11 and 12 of age.

I start a conversation and very soon, I get to know about their daily life. A 80m2 flat, four rooms. Francoise, Thierry, the unemployed parents, Etienne a neighbour taken care of by the family, five dogs, three cats, a variety of objects reminding of the Native Americans and Jonny Halliday (french famous singer).

Since our first encounter, I am mainly taking pictures inside their home, as confined as reassuring, that looks like a shelter from the roughness of their surrounding.

I would like to talk about teenagehood among the working classes within developed countries. I am captivated by the fragility and the ability to resist that appears at that age in this kind of social environment. Since our first exchange, I understood that it was these girls that I was going to follow and no others: immersed in my own past, I see myself at the same age, developing in a similar neighbourhood.

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