Willeke Duijvekam: MANDY AND EVA

Willeke Duijvekam (1968) is a documentary photographer. Since she graduated from the Academy of Photography in Amsterdam she has worked on individual freelance assignments, as well as on long-term projects.She focuses her attention on people whose lives have taken a significantly different turn than most people’s lives.

Netherlands – The everyday lives of two gender dysphoric teenagers, pictured by the documentary photographer Willeke Duijvekam. Mandy and Eva are girls, even though they were born as boys. Willeke Duijvekam followed their lives for six years, through the whole of their adolescence. She was guided by her fascination with the perplexing split between body and mind, and her growing admiration for the courage of these teenagers who refused to allow society’s expectations to dictate their lives. Two girls, two stories, with perhaps more differences than similarities. By having followed the two girls for so long, Duijvekam’s eye sees far beneath the surface. The photo series reveals how for Mandy and Eva the transformation into self-assured young women was chiefly an inner process. Her quiet photos show the girls going about their daily lives, or lost in their own thoughts. The struggle to outwardly become the girls that they already were inwardly must be read in the details. Willeke-Duijvekam-21   About the book That the connection between the two girls is arbitrary is supported by the ingenious design of the book: it is the sum total of two smaller books. The pages are folded in such a way that when looking at a photo of Mandy you also always see a part of a photo of Eva, and vice versa. Also the two books are constructed in such a way that photograph by photograph they lead the viewer back in time. They begin with the present – interim – stage in the changes that Mandy and Eva have had to undergo in their short lives to be the girls – both inwardly and outwardly – that they already knew they were. (This is a wonderful way of making it clear that their stories did not begin with the boy’s bodies with which they were born.)   Mandy & Eva from Willeke Duijvekam on Vimeo.  

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