About the project
I Am - Paradox Identity (2005-2008)
I Am - Paradox Identity 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 Moslem, 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, seen through Ilse's eyes, as the interviews give them their personal voice.
Frech filmed 5 women on video edited into a 52 minute documentary, titled 'I Am. My Islam. My France'.
A soundscape was made from her soundrecordings by Oliver Tirmarche for the exhibition at l'Institut Néerlandais during the Mois de la Photo in Paris, 2008. Besides her photographs, she collected a number of mobile photo-albums of some of them.
The publication conceived by Ilse Frech, designed together with Mevis & van Deursen, contributing writers Leïla Sebbar and Habiba Mahany, has been made possible with the financial support of the Stichting Democratie en Media and the Sem Presser Archive, The Mondriaan Foundation and the Institut Néerlandais, as the project has made possible with the support of The Foundation of Visual Arts, Design and Architecture - Fonds BKVB.
More info regarding the publication @ Ilse Frech / @ Post Editions