Sometimes all it takes is a beautiful photograph to spark a whole heap of questions about the story behind the picture. Here at Glasshouse, we’ve always got one eye out for photography that does just that and Karen Marshall’s latest project, Between Girls: A Passage to Womanhood, certainly ticks the box.
Charting 30 years of female friendship, the image series began life in Brooklyn, New York way back in the eighties. Karen was in her early-twenties at the time and fascinated by the inner-workings of female friendship, as well as being a young budding photographer. She approached a 16-year old high school student, Molly Brover, and asked if she could take some pictures of her and her friends hanging out, smoking, getting ready and going out. Back in an age of innocence, where restrictions surrounding photographing young people were few and far between, Karen managed to get an intimate look into a close-knit girl group on the brink of adulthood.
We’re totally captivated by the pictures - they’re raw and candid and remind us of our own girl groups and teenage years. Living an urban lifestyle in 80’s New York, the girls in the images also offer a glimpse into gritty, Brooklyn life and a time before our friendship groups were played out on social media. We particularly love their off-duty 80’s clothes (think houndstooth, leopard print and lots of chunky socks) and total sincerity in front of the camera - they couldn’t be less bothered about being caught on film.
Sadly 10 months into Karen’s Between Girls project, Molly (the original teen Karen approached) passed away in a car accident at just 17 years old. The group were traumatised, however Karen felt compelled to continue with the project and has been quoting saying that “I had her in all these photographs - she was still going to remain very much alive and the rest of them would grow older”.
Karen continued to take pictures throughout the 30 years, and they now form part of a collection which includes film and print interviews that detail the women’s lives across three decades. Female friendship is a unique sisterhood, with lifelong bonds formed that can last forever. We think these images illustrate this perfectly and beautifully and you can see the entire collection here.
Words: Lucy Vincent
All images: Karen Marshall