/ Anna Grzelewska / Photo story

Julia Wannabe

Julia Wannabe is a project that shows my daughter Julia growing up. My purpose was to search for sources of a woman’s identity and to explore the moment when a girl becomes a woman. There is something ambiguous and perturbing in this transition. Popular culture pictures childhood as a land of happiness: sweet and innocent. Our memory also tends to wipe any flaws off this image.

Shooting Julia, I wanted to look at the process of growing up in a more complex way. It is not a reportage, a diary or a family album, but an attempt to capture the universality of this period. It is also a photographic reinterpretation of a psychological process of transferring — a photographic image is the result of Julia’s experience and my memory of it.

The title of the project is a reference to Madonna wannabe phenomenon. Girls who listen to Madonna’s music, dress up and use make-up to look exactly like her. With these external attributes they try to discover the essence of being Madonna, the essence of femininity she embodies. Paradoxically, it helps them to express themselves. Photographs included in the project were created from 2010, up to now.

Anna Grzelewska (1976) is photographer and filmmaker based in Warsaw. She is PhD student at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava, Czech Republic. She also studied Culture Studies at Warsaw University and Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing. Her photographs have been exhibited in Poland, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, England, Germany and United States. She was awarded at the Lens Culture Emerging Talent Award Grand Prix of the Fotofestival in Łódź and Hyères Festival International de Mode & de Photographie.