Ute Behrend

Bear Girls


How do young girls become strong women? Adolescence is the theme of my new book. At the beginning I tell a story about a fictional “Indian tribe” that separates its pubescent girls and dresses them in bearskins. In this way they are protected from premature sexualisation. The result is a shelter that gives the girls the opportunity to develop freely and self-determinedly in this important phase of their lives. I call these girls “bear girls” and draw parallels in our society, where free spaces for adolescent girls become less and less. Many young women try to evade the stereotypes of sexualised identification that are shaped by society and the media. This is often evident in similar behaviour patterns, e.g. wearing very large sweaters that girls like to “borrow” from their father’s wardrobe.




In “Smart Girls, Gifted Women”, Barbara Kerr examined the similarities that later became strong women. She found that all girls had time for themselves, the ability to fall in love with an idea, and a “protective cover”. None was particularly popular and most remained relatively isolated in their age group. Interestingly, this rejection gave them a free space in which they could develop their uniqueness. Parallel to the portraits of the girls I take photographs with a focus on nature, wild animals and the concept of distance and closeness. I then work on combining these single images to final pairs. The references between the pictures are intended to stimulate the viewer to link the content of what he has seen. Out of one’s own memory and also out of cultural memory.





Short Bio

Biografie 2019 Artist Book, Bear Girls, (artists‘ book) Publisher: BummBumm Books, Cologne, Germany 2015 Teaching assignment, Academy for Communication Design, Cologne, Germany 2011 The Last Year of Childhood (artists‘ book) Publisher: POWERSHOVEL.BOOKS, Tokio/New York 2009 The Door Behind the Wall | Project with handicapped and non-handicapped inhabitants of the Dr. Dormagen-Guffanti foundation, Cologne, Germany 2008 – 09 Teaching assignment, College of Higher Education Bielefeld, Germany 2008 Zimmerpflanzen (artists‘ book), publisher: Snoeck Verlag, Cologne, Germany 2007 Teaching assignment for Visual Communications Merz Akademie,Germany 2006 Mermaids, video Galerie 11, in the Gruner + Jahr publishing house, Hamburg, Germany 2005 Teaching assigment, College of Higher education Voralberg, Austria Märchen, Fairy Tales (artists‘ book) Publisher: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König, Cologne, Germany 2004 Observer and Indoor Plants (booklet) latent, aristotelean mimesis within the thriller genre | label: www.bold-dvd.de 2002 Art goes School | State Chancellery, Saarland, Germany 2001 kunstKöln special edition 1996 Girls, Some Boys and Other Cookies (artists‘ book) Publisher: Scalo Verlag, Zürich, Switzerland 1987-93 Academic studies: Photographic Design University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Dortmund, Germany 1985-87 Academic studies: Communication Design 1979-82 Apprenticeship as a carpenter

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The Emerging Photographer Fund is supported by generous donors to the Magnum Foundation

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