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images by
Helen van Meene

I was remembering the chewing gum bubble as being huge,
filling up the entire picture. I was mistaken.

This almost chubby girl with the chewing gum bubble doesn’t appear to be fragile;
it’s more the fragility of her age and the fragility of her inner self,
which she has in common with the other protagonists of Helen van Meene.
This she pairs with sensuality other photographers are looking for too.
But with her it is not about physical nakedness, not about eroticism,
not about Paradise, as you could assume, if you wish, Jock Sturges has in mind.
It’s about the inner tension of her actors.


Obviously Helen van Meene stages her photographs;
such as you can never forget her as the driving force behind the scene.
At times almost being surreal, at times she borrows patterns from classical portraiture,
patterns that are undermined by the being of the adolescents.



These photographs are about the fantasies of Helen van Meene,
not about the fantasies of the adolescents.
It’s about her vision, the vision of a mature woman looking back at the times of growing up.
Her work doesn’t let you forget that this is fiction, not reality.


My starting point was the pink chewing gum bubble,
I want to end here with this picture of a young woman.
The blue fence, her hair she almost is hiding behind,
maybe because she cant stroke it back cause her with her hand
she is covering her breast.Thus she is protecting herself,
and allows herself to get captivated by the photographer.
The skin, so white that you can see a blue, thin vein,
almost as the shadow of a twig projected on the blue fence.
Her face, her gaze, the gaze of a sad child.