Ilona and maddelena

This is the story of the daily life of Ilona and Maddelena, two sisters 11 and 12 of age, living with their unemployed parents, Françoise and Thierry, five dogs, and three cats in "Cité Gély" a working class neighbourhood of Montpellier, in the south of France.

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.

Ilona and maddelena by sandra mehl

Prev Next Close