Monograph: I Am – Paradox Identity

I Am – Paradox Identity assembles the portraits of young women in Paris’ banlieues, linked through their Muslim culture, in the age between 17 and 27. I wanted to reveal an image more true to her recognition as an independent young woman, in charge of managing her life to her standards and beliefs, being a young European woman knowing to deal with her paradox identity. Therefore I was curious to know her intimate thoughts, her perception on her identity, her culture and religion, her ambition.

The book design was awarded Best Book Design 2008

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Each booklet, size A3, has four double-pages, printed at both sides – of which the images are printed full size either comprising two or three images on one page. The viewer, while going through these pages, is the one who gets to reassemble a personal narrative by unfolding and mixing the booklets, varying in sequential sampling and editing. Also the pages are loose,  refering to posters of ‘pop-idols’, to be hung on the wall.

The book consists of loose booklets; six of them consisting of images and one entire booklet is an assemblage of the interviews: Its conception originated from the idea I had in mind that all intimate spheres and lives of these Muslim women portrayed, within this physical presentation of a book,‘meet’ and cross each other. As all lives are connected in a certain way when merging in and out of private spheres and biographies traversing from suburb to suburb, as I had experienced.

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I Am – Paradox Identity, © Ilse Frech, 2008.

Episode Publishers
Folded | 96 p | 24 x 34 cm
ISBN 9789059731004 French edition € 35,00
ISBN 9789059731073 English edition € 35,00 (sold out)


Henriette, 19 ans, Mantes-la-Jolie

On n’a pas besoin de montrer qu’on est musulmane en portant le foulard. Je pense que si on est musulmane, c’est au fond de soi… surtout parce qu’on vit dans une société qui n’est pas musulmane.

Mes parents, c’est mon enfance, c’est mon éducation, c’est ma jeunesse, c’est ma façon de penser, c’est mes goûts, c’est mes couleurs, c’est ma culture, c’est ma musique, c’est… Ce sont mes racines.

La pauvreté, pour moi, la pauvreté, la vraie pauvreté, c’est la pauvreté intellectuelle, c’est quand on n’a vraiment rien dans la tête, on est vraiment pauvre, pauvre d’esprit.

Noir :

Ma couleur.

Blanc :

La couleur de l’Etat.

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