Between 1992 and 1996, Dijkstra produced a series of full-length portraits of teenagers on various beaches in Poland, Croatia, the Ukraine, Belgium, England, and America, describing the liminal state of adolescence with startling eloquence. Posing her young subjects before a luminous background of sand, sea, and sky, she imbues the portraits with an elemental, almost mythic quality that seems to transcend the carefully observed particulars of national identity and class.
In this photograph, a skinny Polish girl in a lime-green bathing suit confronts the camera with a heartbreaking blend of awkwardness and studied nonchalance. Standing at the ocean's edge, she tilts her head and slips unconsciously into a classical contrapposto pose. Dijkstra captures this moment with her camera, deftly revealing the eternal within the everyday. Shot from a low angle against a darkening sky, the girl appears simultaneously large and small-monumental yet vulnerable, half exposed, half grown, halfway between innocence and experience. With its perfectly modulated blend of clarity and ambiguity, the photograph is a stunning depiction of Venus at the awkward age.
Inscription: Signed and inscribed in ink on verso of frame: "Kolobrzeg, Polen // 26 juli 1992 // Rineke Dijkstra // 2/6"
The artist; Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam; Jean Paul Yde, Oostende; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Photographs from the Collection IV," November 20, 2001–May 12, 2002.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan," September 25, 2007–March 23, 2008.
Dijkstra, Rineke. Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2012. p. 20, 75.