»TREIZE«, 2018

Artist Book, Edition of 500
68 pages, 27 cm × 20 cm
Cover Layout: Gina Mönch
Text: Madoka Yuki (French and English)
Editor: A.L.M. Editions
published with Distanz, Berlin
order here: almeditions


Thirteen years old: at the beginning of the adolescent phase everyone passes through. Children at this age are not really kids any more, nor are they yet adults. It is the in-between phase. TREIZE was a collaborative creation involving a thirteen-year-old girl, Léa, and a young photographer, Anne-Lena Michel.

The photographer got to know the model while she was working as an au pair in Paris in 2001. She took care of Léa after school at her apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Léa had her afternoon snack, the goûter, and did her homework with Anne-Lena. If they had free time after that, they would do a photo session. It started as a kind of game or free-time activity. They’d use the clothes, cosmetics, accessories, etc., they found around the home, belonging to Léa, her mother, or the photographer. In what they referred to as “self-staging,” Léa chose her own costumes and came up with the poses herself. Sometimes she simply wore her costumes without makeup; sometimes she’d sit on a sofa in the living room, in heavy makeup. During one photo session, they choreographed a certain scene that was like summer vacation, staging a beach situation with a towel and sunglasses in the living room.


Fifteen years later, the photographer rediscovered the importance of her work TREIZE. In the meantime, she had majored in photography at an art university and attained an understanding of the criteria that constitute “good” photography. For the series TREIZE she didn’t choose the snapshot style as her artistic strategy. They were simply snapshots which she can now no longer take. Even though Léa wears gorgeous clothing and makeup as in a staged fashion photograph, the elements of an ordinary young girl’s everyday life were unconsciously shown in the photographs. Elements such as a spray can in the background, washed clothing on the bed, a leather camera case on the floor, etc., show that the everydayness in TREIZE was not staged. These striking yet natural images show through the optical unconscious.

Because Anne-Lena was not yet a photographer during these photo shoots, she could come close to the potential of photography—unconsciously. Because she has become a professional photographer, she can now discover the relevance of this photographic oeuvre.

extract of the text written by Madoka Yuki