I See You See Me

Federica Belli

2017 - Ongoing


The project I See You See Me deals with the passage from childhood to adulthood - a transition that is manifested through many changes, often evident - representing a specific aspect of it: the gradual assumption of self-awareness. By repeatedly photographing women between the ages of 10 and 16, I decided to focus on their transition from the nature of children, observed and cared for by their parents, to women who are aware of their own gaze and therefore become active observers. This transition happens gradually, and equally gradually is revealed in the series of photographs, through an increasing intensity of gaze. While at first these girls accept to be photographed only if they can keep their eyes closed or look away, with time they find the courage to sustain a visual exchange by addressing their gaze directly to the camera.

Being such a delicate and intangible transition, the girls themselves are not aware of it until the moment in which, by viewing the photographs taken over the course of months, they realise the awareness acquired in the meantime.

Precisely the powerful empathy that we experience in the moment when, for the first time, our gazes cross is what pushes me to continue this photographic research. Somehow, the proud yet delicate process of growth of these people makes me proud to be as human as they are.

The girls and young women photographed are mostly encountered in everyday life and approached by me on the street. Once the parents' permission is obtained, a dialogue begins that then gradually leads to the realisation of the photographs making up the project.

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