At first glance Julia Peirone‘s images might look like a mistake. However upon further inspection, the young female subjects betray something fascinating, each self-effacing hair flick and eye roll unraveling their thinly composed expressions and thwarting our own understanding of portraiture. In her series More Than Violet, Peirone shot hundreds of frames in order to achieve these startling “in between” moments, the girls themselves suspended between childhood and womanhood. The sitters’ candy-colored eyeshadow and glossy mouths slightly agape betray token habits and mannerisms of their youth. At an age where being looked at is “simultaneously thrilling and terrifying”, here the attempt at composure and allure is candidly obstructed. Peirone’s subjects reveal themselves when they feel unobserved, fidgeting with jewelry and twisting hair in moments of awkward uncertainty.
The series captures a different sort of vulnerability and intimacy than other portraiture, ignoring both the tropes of fine art photographic practice and the social media clichés these girls undoubtedly participate in on a daily basis. More Than Violet makes room for the unexpected and ask questions of girlhood, womanhood and the uncomfortable idea of being looked at.