13.7 x 9.6 inches
I Am is a project of Ilse Frech about young women who have grown up within the Muslim culture in the outer suburbs of Paris. Frech’s photographs are intimate portraits of young women seeking their identity, as they find themselves often in between two cultures.
Being Muslim, they search for a practice to their own degree. These women, each of them as an individual, represent altogether a universal value -freed from ‘the veil’- meant as a metaphor in this case. Their beliefs and intimate self-reflected thoughts are captured in images and recorded through conversations over a period of time, picturing an unexpected personal view. It is within this intimacy that a paradox arises around their ‘double’ identities that creates a confrontation between their inner world and the outer world, which otherwise remains unseen.
All over Europe the immigration waves of the 1960s and 70s have led to a great cultural and social diversity, but the worldwide negative trend posed by media coverage of Muslims is too often designated as an environment of social marginalization. Frech’s work questions the double layer that arises, in de-picting Muslim women ‘seen’ from another perspective to that of the image building of the media that rather stigmatizes them. The photographs in this publication give the women a face, as the interviews give them their personal voice.