Powerfully stark, Paris-based Bénédicte Vanderreydt’s (B. 19.02.1980) series ‘I Never Told Anyone’, sheds light on her family history in seven delicately lit frames, detailing what she describes as the oppression of her female ancestors in an age of patriarchy. Balancing between fact and fiction, Vanderreydt’s images re-create gloomy and melancholic scenes, revealing stories of her family’s troubled past. However, far from being personally anecdotal, the series speaks of a symbolic oppression.
Despite the bleak subject matter, Vanderreydt’s attention to detail results in a staggeringly provocative and beautiful series. There is a concurrent cinematic light throughout the series, almost Gregory Crewdson-esque, which is perhaps the most striking feature of her work. However, the style of light is tailored to its historical time which makes the images also resemble the famous colour used by painters of the Dutch ‘Golden age’ such as Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn. Shot in Binche, the town her family faced such maltreatment, Vanderreydt bravely and powerfully revisits her family’s history, as to finally serve justice to her persecuted ancestors.
Bénédicte Vanderreydt won the 2016 Grand Prix Winner of Tokyo International Photography Festival Competition with her series I Never Told Anyone.